Adult care home operator stole from resident

Lisa Potter, who ran Laura's Loving Acres.

STANTON, Mich. (WOOD) — The woman in charge of an unlicensed and now closed adult foster care home was stealing from at least one resident.

The state shut down Laura’s Loving Acres near Stanton last week after a court found that the operators were using a phony arrangement to avoid licensing and state watchdogging.

But it gets worse. At least one operator stole from a resident.

“I think it’s not fair that homes can run like this,” Sharon Zalud said.

Her brother Robert, who has a head injury and is unwell, lived at Laura’s Loving Acres. Not long after he moved in, the woman who ran the home started stealing from him.

“There were withdrawals from ATMs all the way from Ionia to Montcalm — $200 to $300. And there were purchases at Meijer’s over the next week,” Zalud said.

The purchases were for things her brother would never buy and couldn’t afford, Zalud said.

“So I called to ask them if they could let me know what was going on and nobody responded to my call,” she said.

So Zalud went to the Michigan State Police.

A detective’s investigation focused on Lisa Potter. She is the girlfriend of owner Tim Zylstra and ran the home.

According to a police report, Potter initially said she used Robert’s credit card to buy clothing for him. But when the detective checked, none of the items were in Robert’s closet. Potter said it must be in the laundry.

Later, she admitted using his card to buy things for herself. She told the detective it was the first time she had ever done so.

“It wasn’t a lot, but it was a lot to him,” Zalud said. “It was a lot of money to him.”

Monday, a judge sentenced Potter to 30 days on the county work crew and ordered her to pay back $1,500. The judge told Potter that if she misses even one day on the work crew, she’ll have to do the rest of her time in jail.

MSP also found that Zylstra had used Robert’s card to make ATM withdrawals, and he was caught camera leaving a store wearing a sweatshirt he said he bought for Robert. But Zylstra said the withdrawals had Robert’s approval and were used to pay his rent and other expenses. He was not charged.

“People have to be really careful where you put your loved ones,” Zalud said.

No one came to the door of the house where Potter said she lived when Target 8 went there Wednesday to ask for comment, though our crew heard footsteps inside.

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