Former Phila. City Hall Clerk Sentenced For Stealing Elderly Neighbor’s Benefits

Friday October 31st 2014
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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A former clerk to Philadelphia City Council was sentenced today to four years’ probation and ordered to make restitution after admitting she stole Social Security benefits from an elderly neighbor in her care.

Investigators say defendant Nancy Gonzalez and her then-boyfriend, the victim’s great-nephew, stole more than $30,000 intended for victim Iris Galarza.  Gonzalez was the victim’s Social Security payee.

The 88-year-old victim was left to live in squalor and roam the streets with bags on her feet for shoes.

“And instead of using the money to Miss Galarza’s benefit, Miss Gonzalez, along as well with her co-defendant, used the money for their own gain — to pay their own bills, to go on vacation, and so forth,” says Philadelphia prosecutor Michael Bonner. Read more »

Pennsylvania woman gets prison for abusing elderly husband

Tuesday October 28th 2014
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DOYLESTOWN — A 74-year-old suburban Philadelphia woman has been sentenced to at least a month in prison for beating her elderly husband and locking him, naked, outside their home in freezing temperatures.
Dolores Labrum pleaded guilty in Bucks County Court to charges that include simple assault, false imprisonment and reckless endangerment, the Bucks County Courier Times reported.
She was sentenced to one to 23 months behind bars.
Newtown Township police found Labrum’s 78-year-husband standing bruised, naked, shivering and unresponsive on the balcony of their apartment in December. Court documents describe him as frail, weak and suffering from dementia.
He told police it was at least the fifth time in the past year his wife had made him strip and stand naked on the balcony after an argument.

This article was written by The Associated Press as reported on Triblive.com.

Stewart to serve jail time for thefts

Thursday October 23rd 2014
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Frank Stewart, 48, of Ramey was sentenced to serve nine months to two years in the Clearfield County Jail by Judge Paul Cherry for stealing from a disabled elderly client and a charity organization. Stewart was also ordered to pay $137,248 in restitution to the victim and $10,496 to the Lance Cusick Memorial Foundation.  Stewart’s attorney, Ron Collins of Clearfield, said Stewart has submitted certified checks to the state police for $10,496 to restitution to the Lance Cusick Memorial Fund.

Last August, Stewart was found guilty of forgery, theft by unlawful taking and theft by deception, victim over 60, defendant under 60, at jury trial. According to testimony at the trial, Stewart forged paperwork and stole $120,000 from the victim who now resides in a personal care facility. Stewart pleaded guilty to the charge of theft by unlawful taking on Oct. 2 for stealing $10,496 from the Lance Cusick Memorial Foundation, a charitable organization in which he served as treasurer.  Clearfield County District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr. said these are serious crimes and Stewart deserves to be punished commensurate with his crime but said this has to be balanced with the fact that the victim needs to be compensated in a timely manner, especially considering her age. Read more »

Five Year Refresher – November 13, 2014 – York

Tuesday October 21st 2014
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On November 13, 2014 we are offering a five-year refresher training in York.

This one-day training will refresh and review critical elements of doing protective services in the Commonwealth including investigative techniques, updates to the regulation, interpretation of regulations, guardianship and power of attorney laws, etc.

The Department of Aging is requiring all protective service investigators to take this course every 5 years, in addition to their annual enrichment training. This year, all PS investigators and PS supervisors with 5 years of experience must attend one of the classes. Read more »

Luzerne, Wyoming County Elder Abuse task forces to hold seminars

Wednesday October 8th 2014
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FACTORYVILLE — The Luzerne/Wyoming Counties Elder Abuse Task Force will sponsor two seminars this month.The first is a “Senior Abuse and Fraud” seminar that will be held on Friday, Oct. 17 at 11 a.m. at the Mathewson Park Apartments, 6 Maple St., Factoryville. Representatives of the Pennsylvania Attorney General and Victims Resource Center will present information on elder abuse and fraud and resources available to victims. The event is open to the public.State Representatives Karen Boback and Sandra Major, along with the Luzerne/Wyoming Counties Elder Abuse Task Force, will sponsor a second “Senior Abuse and Fraud” seminar on Friday, Oct. 24 at 11 a.m. at the Wyoming County Active Adult Center, 101 Dymond Terrace, Tunkhannock. The event is open to the public.

This article was written by Travis Keller for the Times Leader. 

Caregiver convicted of stealing $500,000 from elderly man, killing him

Wednesday October 8th 2014
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SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A caregiver who stole more than $500,000 from an 88-year-old Rancho Bernardo man, then killed him so she could be independently wealthy was convicted Tuesday of first-degree murder and other charges.

Denise Michelle Goodwin, 47, will be sent to prison for life without the possibility of parole at a hearing Dec. 5.

Jurors, who started deliberations a week ago, found Goodwin guilty of 11 counts, including murder for financial gain in the death of Gerald Rabourn, who disappeared in October 2010. His body was never found.  Goodwin wept quietly as the guilty verdict was read. She was also convicted of caregiver theft by an adult, fraudulent appropriation by a trustee, grand theft and forgery of documents.

In his closing argument, Deputy District Attorney Bill Mitchell told jurors that Goodwin was a “predator disguised as a caregiver,” targeting elderly men with money and no family nearby. Read more »

David Lynn Patton Sent to Prison for Stealing from Elderly Aunt

Wednesday October 8th 2014
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David Lynn Patton Sent to Prison for Stealing from Elderly Aunt

CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – It’s off to prison for David Lynn Patton of Knox.

Bail for Patton, of Knox, was revoked today after a special hearing before Judge James G. Arner in the Clarion County Courthouse, and he was immediately transported to Clarion County Jail and will later be transferred to a State Prison.

Patton was convicted on November 6, 2012, for theft of over $250,000 from his 88-year old aunt, Betty Wetzel.  He was out on bail because of an appeal Pennsylvania Superior Court.  A September 19 ruling by Superior Court upheld the original sentence of 30 to 60 months made in the Clarion Court of Common Courts. Read more »

Nationally known family of thieves preys on Central New York elderly

Monday September 29th 2014
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SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Chanel Lakatosz’s obituary says almost nothing of her 26-year life.

There’s no mention of her belonging to a family that preys on the elderly through daytime burglaries in places such as Atlantic City, Chicago, Philadelphia and other communities east of the Mississippi river. Or of her death in a Syracuse jail where she was held on a $3.75 million bond. There’s no mention of her being banned from Best Buy stores in Ohio. No one has left condolences on the funeral home’s website.

The brief account does capture her nomadic lifestyle. Born in Brooklyn, she lived her last eight years in a Chicago suburb and her funeral was at a Polish-speaking Roman Catholic Church in New Jersey.  In New York and Illinois, she shared at least three addresses with Witold “Victor” Lakatosz, who is not the father listed in her obituary, but a man who for decades has called himself the “King of Gypsies.”

Witold Lakatosz is the leader of a band of travelers with Polish roots who are currently based in Chicago. The King, who is in his late 60s, is famous for showing up in towns and cities where Lakatoszs have been arrested. In August, four Lakatosz family members, including Chanel Lakatosz, were arrested in Syracuse on charges of taking half a million dollars in valuables from 15 homes in four Onondaga County towns.

While he has not surfaced publicly in the latest case, the King often visits communities where his family has been arrested. Driving nice cars and wearing lots of jewelry, he has handed out business cards claiming he is a United Nations representative of the Roma people, commonly referred to as “Gypsies.” “He’s essentially the bailsman. He shows up and tries to buy off the cops, buy off the prosecutor,” said Dennis Marlock, a former detective lieutenant of the Milwaukee Police Department.

News stories show that Witold Lakatosz has appeared to offer restitution in dozens of cases from Florida to Connecticut since at least the 1970s. The defendants routinely skip court appearances after their bail is paid. Read more »

Superior Court Affirms Ruling Against Knox Man Found Guilty of Stealing $250k from 88 year old Aunt

Wednesday September 24th 2014
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CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – The Superior Court of Pennsylvania has affirmed the Nov. 6, 2012, conviction of a Knox man for the theft of over $250,000.00 from his 88-year old aunt.

David Lynn Patton, of Knox, was found guilty in Clarion Court of Common Pleas on a total of 95 counts of Theft by Unlawful Taking and Failure to Make Required Disposition in connection with the theft of over $250,000.00 from Betty Wetzel between January 2007 and May 2012.

Patton was sentenced to an aggregate term of 30 to 60 months. He was out on bail for his appeal.

The ruling on the appeal was filed on September 19. Click here for the complete ruling.

Judges Gantman, Elliot, and Olson rejected the appeal and stated that the Power of Attorney between Patton and Wetzel was not a license to steal.

“Simply stated, we reject Appellant’s bold claim that the “unlimited gift” provision in the power of attorney provided Appellant with a license to steal Ms. Wetzel’s assets and use all of her money for Appellant’s own benefit. To the contrary, the gifting power was clearly subject to the condition that Appellant use the power ‘for benefit’ – and Appellant clearly violated this condition when he took all of Ms. Wetzel’s money and used it as if it was his own,” stated the Court. Read more »

Owner of Costa Rican Call Center Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Elderly Through Sweepstakes Scam

Monday September 22nd 2014
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A dual United States-Costa Rican citizen pleaded guilty today for his role in a $1.88 million sweepstakes fraud scheme that defrauded hundreds of elderly Americans.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Anne M. Tompkins of the Western District of North Carolina made the announcement.

Geoffrey Alexander Ramer, 34, of Costa Rica, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge David S. Cayer of the Western District of North Carolina to wire fraud and money laundering in connection with the telemarketing fraud scheme. Sentencing will be scheduled at a later date.

“Ramer preyed upon some of the most vulnerable members of our society, callously and repeatedly defrauding elderly Americans by stealing their life savings,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell. “We hope that today’s guilty plea brings some solace to his victims. This prosecution sends a clear message to the next would-be con-artist: in protecting our citizens, the reach of the Justice Department will not stop at our country’s borders. Read more »

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