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Caretaker accused of swindling wealthy family enters not guilty pleas in court

10 months 4 weeks 3 hours ago Tuesday, July 18 2023 Jul 18, 2023 July 18, 2023 6:12 PM July 18, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE- A caretaker who is facing felony charges in two different parishes entered not guilty pleas in a Baton Rouge courtroom Tuesday morning.

Melba Braud, 62, is charged with three counts of cruelty to the infirm. She went before Judge Tarvald Smith on Tuesday for her arraignment where she maintained her innocence.

A grand jury formally accused her of creating power of attorney without Garrett Claybourn's consent. The indictment also alleges she named herself in a will without consent and spent Claybourn's money without his consent.

"At the time that he was hospitalized initially, there was a flurry of events that occurred," Moore said. "Changing of power of attorney and a will being changed significantly and a lot of money and assets that caused concerns among family members."

The will that was drafted listed Braud as the beneficiary to the couple's $2 million Destin condominium, all of his stocks and bank accounts, all of his guns, and half of his stake in his wife's interior design business—Beth Claybourn interiors.

Following the WBRZ report, a number of people reached out to the WBRZ Investigative Unit saying Braud was also pictured as a wanted suspect in Denham Springs for using a stolen credit card to purchase thousands of dollars in gift cards.

A day after WBRZ The Investigative Unit aired a story on the Denham Springs fraud case, Chief Walker said the department had a warrant for Braud's arrest.

A woman who knows Braud well told WBRZ: "No one was surprised that she took advantage of a dementia patient and became the executor of his estate. ... Everybody said `Yes, that's Melba, no doubt."

Braud's lawyer, Jim Boren, declined to comment. She is due back in court in December and due in court in Livingston Parish next month.

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