Locked up attorney’s failures continue to hurt clients

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Assigned to defend the law, a former attorney was found guilty of breaking it — and in a big way. Even though justice has been served to him, his former clients are still suffering from his failures.

Troy Titus is sitting in federal prison after cheating people out of millions of dollars. Unlike his other victims, Titus didn’t steal from Wanda Tatum. Instead, he failed to protect her, and now that’s come back to haunt Tatum’s family.

“She said, ‘I have a great daughter,’ and I said, ‘I have a great mom,'” Tami Tatum said, while standing above her mother Wanda.

Brain cancer has ravaged Wanda, who is bed-ridden and given morphine every hour for pain.

“Right here was the incision, and it was the size of a baseball, and it was a tumor,” Tami told 10 On Your Side, pointing to obvious medical incisions in Wanda’s head.

Troy Titus
Troy Titus

To prepare for this day, on February 3, 1997, Wanda gave her power of attorney to Tami. Wanda said ‘yes’ when asked if she remembered Troy Titus, who signed the document along with her.

Not only was Titus her attorney, but he was also a Notary Public. The problem: he failed to properly notarize the document with a stamp. And that has created problems at Chartway Federal Credit Union.

“I took the document to Chartway, and they said they can’t take the Power of Attorney document without the notary stamp on it … and that means I can’t get the money … and that means my mother won’t get the service care she needs,” Tami said.

10 On Your Side went back to Chartway with Tami, and together we spoke with the Regional Manager. Chartway is working with Tami to get her the money, but the credit union said it is following established guidelines to get this done.

But everyone is aware that time is running out.

“A lot of years we had together, and I can’t stand to see her in this condition, not when we can do so much to help her, if people will just let us,” said Jo Hopkins, Wanda’s sister.

Tami did not know why the un-notorized documents went unnoticed. They were put in an envelope by Troy Titus. The envelope reads “original will and power of attorney.” It wasn’t until the family needed the Power of Attorney document that it was opened and taken to the credit union. That’s when the problem was pointed out.

Chartway CEO Ron Burniske is aware of the situation. He’s sympathetic of the family’s plight, but would not go into details except to say he will make sure everything is made right quickly.

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