A Waco real estate agent was arrested Friday for the second time in 21 months on allegations he improperly secured mineral rights on property owned by an elderly man.
Waco police arrested Re/Max Centex real estate agent Jody Glenn Scoggins at his office Friday morning on charges of theft of $150,000 but less than $300,000 from an elderly individual and exploitation of an elderly person.
Scoggins, 33, was jailed under $30,000 bond. He was arrested in July 2017 on similar charges. However, the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office under former DA Abel Reyna declined to pursue the charges.
First Assistant District Attorney Nelson Barnes said Friday that when District Attorney Barry Johnson took office in January, his office started reviewing the charges against Scoggins and decided to present the allegations to a grand jury.
A McLennan County grand jury issued a sealed indictment against Scoggins on Wednesday. The indictment was issued under seal because Scoggins had not been arrested on the new charges.
Waco attorney Phil Frederick, who represents Scoggins with attorney Rob Swanton, said they will “vigorously defend Jody against these false charges.”
“This case had been at the DA’s office for 18 months, and they declined to pursue it,” Frederick said. “We presented a significant amount of information to the DA’s office over the last 18 months that was not part of the police investigation. The information we provided contradicted much of the police reports. The decision to not prosecute the case was the right decision.”
The theft charge against Scoggins is a first-degree felony, punishable by up to life in prison. The exploitation of an elderly person count is a third-degree felony, which carries a maximum prison term of 10 years.
The indictment alleges that from January 2016 to July 2017, Scoggins unlawfully appropriated, by acquiring or otherwise exercising control over property, cash, mineral rights or a home, from David Menefee, the owner who is an elderly individual. The indictment alleges the property obtained was worth from $100,000 to $300,000.
Count 2 alleges Scoggins, for “monetary or personal benefit, profit or gain, caused the exploitation” of Menefee by “the illegal or improper use of the elderly person by having him sign over his mineral rights.”
According to court documents filed when Scoggins was arrested in 2017, Waco police allege Scoggins befriended Menefee, who at the time was 66 and suffered from dementia and blindness. He was living at a nursing home, and Scoggins reportedly started having the man’s mail forwarded to Scoggins’ office.
“(The victim) is an heir to mineral rights in Hood County, Texas, which has been passed down through his family,” the documents state. “On 09/27/2016, Scoggins, along with … a public notary for the state of Texas, went to (the nursing home). While at the nursing home, Scoggins had (the man) sign a mineral warranty deed granting his wife, Kimberly Scoggins, and he all interest in all oil and gas that may be produced from (the man’s) original mineral warranty deed for the amount of $10.”
The notary told investigators the full form was never read to the victim, only explained by Scoggins, according to the documents.
“After speaking to (Menefee), he told me he would never sign his mineral rights over because they have been passed down through his family and are his main source of income,” an arrest affidavit states. “Scoggins was deceptive by tricking (the man) due to his disabilities into signing his mineral rights over to him for his pecuniary gain.”
Scoggins told investigators in 2017 he knew the man suffered from cataracts but was unaware of any other medical conditions, according to the affidavit.
Menefee and a family member filed a civil lawsuit against Scoggins, his wife, Kim, and his mother, Debbie, in July 2017, alleging they committed a civil conspiracy, misappropriated and stole the Menefee family’s property, used a fraudulent signature to deed over assets and fraudulently obtained power of attorney to gain access to Menefee’s financial information.
Waco attorney David Dumas, who represents Scoggins in the civil suit, told the Tribune-Herald in 2017 that Menefee is a lifelong friend of the Scoggins family.
“Based on our investigation, the allegations will ultimately be proven to be false,” Dumas said. “It is unfortunate that these unsubstantiated claims have the potential to damage their reputations simply because they have been made. The truth is that Mr. Menefee has been a lifelong friend of the Scoggins family and their attempts to help him through the years have been twisted into this fabricated story and turned against Jody and his family.”
The lawsuit remains pending.