Idaho man now accused of wife under program to exploit a vulnerable Utah resident

The husband of a Pocatello woman accused of persuading a terminally ill man from Cottonwood Heights to sign a will and a power of attorney shortly before her death, has now also been charged in connection with the investigation. (Johanna Kirk, Deseret News)

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COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS – An Idaho woman’s husband accused of using a terminally ill Utah man to sign her estate, is now also charged on an alleged conspiracy.

71-year-old Robert Billings of Pocatello was charged on Tuesday in a Utah county court with financial abuse of a vulnerable adult who was unable to consent, a second-degree felony.

Last week, Billings’ wife, 50-year-old Marina Billings of Pocatello, was charged with the financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult and the serious abuse of a vulnerable adult, a second-degree crime.

The Billings were charged for the same crimes last year, but prosecutors later dismissed the charges, saying further investigation was needed.

Marina Billings, who used to work in a Bannock County prison, met Boris Leiken of Cottonwood Heights online in 2020. Leiken, originally from Russia, was a speed skating champion.

Even though he was married, Billings began traveling to Utah and developed a close relationship with Leiken, according to the charging records.

As of May 2021, Leiken began experiencing health problems, and in April or May of this year, Billings moved to Leiken. Leiken died at the age of 69, “after being diagnosed about a month before his death in the aggressive and fatal form of Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease, commonly known as mad cow disease.”

Prosecutors say that prior to Leiken’s death, Billings “created or altered Mr. Leiken’s will … as a result became the administrator and beneficiary of his estate.”

As investigators continued to examine Leiken’s new will, they found out that Billings had contacted a notary public and notarized several documents in May 2021 while Leiken was in hospital, including the power of attorney, his health care directive, his will and the deed relating to him home, state of fees. Prosecutors say another man, later determined to be Robert Billings, was also present at the signing, but only introduced himself as a friend of Marina Billings.

The nurses who looked after Leiken at the time say Leiken did not have the mental capacity to make such decisions, according to the allegations.

When police later searched the Billings home in Idaho, they found a hidden room.

“In the room, officers found Mr. Leiken’s will, power of attorney, Advanced Healthcare Directive, deed of trust and termination of claim, which were created by Marina and Robert Billings,” according to the charging documents. “The will lists Marina Billings as sole heir and personal representative of Mr. Leiken’s estate, and Robert Billings as secondary personal representative.

The arrest warrant for Robert Billings was issued on Tuesday.

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Pat Reavy is a longtime police and court reporter. He joined the KSL.com team in 2021, after many years of reporting earlier in Deseret News and KSL NewsRadio.

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