Police say woman defrauded husband in coma

Lenora Reese-McNair

A sordid tale of betrayal and fraud is making its way through the Jefferson County courts.

It all started in December 2012 when Derek McNair of Beaumont suffered a massive heart attack, sending the aging man into a coma from which he has yet to awaken. In the months after his heart attack, McNair made his way from St. Elizabeth Hospital, to Mid-Jefferson Hospital, and then finally to Kindred Care in Louisiana before doctors put him on life support. He suffers from “anoxic encephalopathy, with a terminal diagnosis” according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by The Examiner.

But as he lay in his hospital bed, unable to communicate with family members or friends, Derek’s girlfriend made her own plans.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Lenora Denise Reese-McNair, 51, of Beaumont, obtained a marriage license for herself and her ailing husband-to-be by claiming Derek was “in military on duty” and was unable to make it home until the end of February 2013. It had only been two months since Derek entered the hospital, but according to the police, Reese-McNair forged Derek’s name on the marriage license to line up her next move: power of attorney.

Soon after Derek’s admission into Mid-Jefferson Hospital, Reese-McNair presented hospital and Gulf Employees Credit Union staff with a power of attorney bearing Derek’s signature. Reese-McNair has used the document to write herself checks from Derek’s bank accounts — again, bearing her new husband’s signature — and has allegedly “cleaned them out,” according to sources familiar with the case.

The power of attorney document also bears the seemingly innocuous seal of a notary public, dated October 2012, two months before Derek’s coma. Staff at Derek’s bank and the hospital however, couldn’t have known the documents were all notarized by Jamaal Bush, Reese-McNair’s son.

“According to the Texas Secretary of State, Jamaal Bush was not commissioned as a notary public until (February 2013),” according to the probable cause affidavit, two months after Derek’s heart attack. “The power of attorney bears his stamp and signature, so it therefore could not have been completed on (October 2012), because he was not a notary public on that date. The power of attorney must have been completed sometime after and then back dated.”

With access to Derek’s entire life at her disposal, Reese-McNair didn’t stop there. According to the probable cause affidavit, Reese-McNair has filed a Quitclaim Deed and a Terms of Life Estate affidavit, both signed by Derek despite his coma, giving Reese-McNair 100 percent ownership of Derek’s home at 5530 Dellwood in Beaumont. This document is also notarized by Reese-McNair’s son Jamaal Bush, according to the date, before he was a licensed notary public.

To put the final, finishing touches on her fraud, it is alleged that Reese-McNair has begun to draw on her new husband’s life insurance policy, according to an investigative summary obtained by The Examiner.

Reese-McNair’s antics might be over for now. She was indicted by a grand jury July 18 for exploitation of a child, elderly or disabled individual — a third-degree felony — and was arrested the next day. Her bond is set at $100,000.

According to sources familiar with the case, Reese-McNair was arrested at the Derek’s Dellwood home where she now lives with Bush and her other children.

Reese-McNair is set to appear in court July 29.