Documents found in secret room detail how Pocatello couple took advantage of dying man, say investigators
POCATELLO — Investigators say they found a secret room in a Pocatello couple’s home with documents tying them to a dying man signing over his assets.
Neighbors told investigators 68-year-old Boris Leikin, a champion speedskater, lived “the picture of health,” before meeting Idaho couple Marina Billings, 49, and Robert Billings, 70. The Billings are now charged with the felony financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult and felony aggravated abuse of Leikin, who passed away July 6, 2021, apparently from mad cow disease.
Marina Billings and Leikin connected through a Facebook group for Russians, according to an affidavit of probable cause obtained by EastIdahoNews.com.
Court documents aren’t clear when Leikin and Marina Billings began the relationship.
Leikin would later admit to neighbors that he was falling in love with the woman who was two decades younger. The two began visiting each other’s respective homes in Cottonwood Heights, Utah, and in Pocatello.
Marina Billings, who is still married to Robert, ultimately moved into Leikin’s Utah home. Then in early May, Leikin suddenly fell ill. He had difficulty sleeping and experienced other symptoms. Within weeks, Marina Billings took him to Idaho and then back to Utah, and he got worse.
Around May 20, court documents show Leikin ended up in a hospital, and medical staff and social workers suspected the man was severely neglected and in very serious condition. A friend also tried contacting Leikin in the hospital, but Marina Billings reportedly put restrictions on anyone else contacting the man she claimed as her fiancé.
During Leikin’s hospitalization, Marina and Robert Billings authored documents to take complete control of the man’s property and assets. Among the documents were a power of attorney, an advanced health care directive and deeds. Leikin apparently had no family in the area, and he signed the documents while his physical and mental condition was rapidly deteriorating.
Leikin ultimately ended up being released from the hospital on May 28, 2021. Two days later, Marina Billings contacted two neighbors to come over and observe Leikin make a change to his will. Marina Billings claimed Leikin wanted to change the will. She also told the neighbors the man might have a terminal form of mad cow disease.
At the time, Robert Billings was also at the home, according to court documents. He also talked about Leikin wanting to change the will. Marina allegedly put a pen in the dying man’s hand and put the document under the pen. However, that weekend, Leikin was physically unable to sign his name.
In later interviews with police, the neighbors said Marina talked with and treated Leikin like a pet dog during the encounter.
Eventually, Leikin apparently did sign the will, although it’s unclear when that was.
Leikin ended up back at the hospital, and medical staff was troubled over Marina’s lack of concern over his condition. Leikin was dehydrated and had considerable weight loss during this second round at the hospital. Court records do not indicate where Leikin ended up dying a month later.
EastIdahoNews.com spotted both federal and local investigators in unmarked vehicles outside the Billings’ home weeks after Leikin’s death. Initially, investigators declined to say why they were there, but the probable cause affidavit indicates what they found.
In the house, investigators noted finding a secret room in the basement where a large plastic file divider was located with copies of the will, power of attorney, trust and medical records for Leikin’s treatment in Idaho. Police also found other documents Robert Billings claimed he had no copies of.
During an interview, Robert Billings said his wife met Leikin online, and as the relationship grew she started staying with him. He claimed when Leikin’s health worsened, the dying man expressed concerns about caring for his elderly mother, which he claimed prompted them to amend the will. Robert Billings said he wrote the amended will, and Leikin signed it while staying in Idaho. Robert Billings also said he took Leikin’s 9mm handgun as he feared the other man would commit suicide.
Marina Billings told investigators her husband drafted the documents. She claimed Leikin pushed for her to get the will and wanted to leave his estate to her.
Court records show the couple was charged but not booked into jail. Further details on the case have not been released.
With news of the Billings facing charges, her employer, the Bannock County Sheriff’s Office, issued a statement Wednesday saying Marina Billings, a jail booking deputy, was on administrative leave. She has worked for the county since 2014.
“The Bannock County Sheriff’s Office expects the highest professional conduct of its employees both on-and off-duty, which includes conformance to laws,” Bannock County Sheriff Tony Manu said in a news release. “The Bannock County Sheriff’s Office is cooperating fully with the Utah investigation.”