$137,000 theft from senior earns five to 10 years in jail

Tuesday December 17th 2013
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MEDIA COURTHOUSE — A Marple woman who stole more than $137,000 from her mother’s best friend was sentenced to five to 10 years in a state correctional facility Tuesday.  The sentence for Madeline J. Guglielmo runs consecutive to a one- to two-year sentence handed down by Judge Patricia Jenkins last month for violating probation on a prior theft charge.

Guglielmo, 52, of the 2500 block of Franklin Avenue in Broomall, had entered open guilty pleas in September to two counts of theft by deception, as well as one count each of criminal use of a communication facility and access device fraud, all felonies of the third degree.  One of the theft charges stemmed from a bad check Guglielmo had written to cover her mother’s burial expenses at Arlington Cemetery in Upper Darby. She was ordered to pay restitution of $1,328 in that case.

The remaining charges were related to the larger theft scam, in which Guglielmo drained the bank accounts of an 86-year-old woman between January 2012 and May 2013.

According to an affidavit of probable cause, Guglielmo told the woman she needed money to help cover her husband’s medical bills. Investigators at the Delaware County Criminal Investigation Division’s Senior Exploitation Unit found Guglielmo actually had gone on shopping sprees at stores, including Victoria’s Secret, Coach, Nordstrom and Sears. She had also paid Comcast and PECO bills, and made numerous cash withdrawals and transfers to her daughter’s Citizens Bank account.

Assistant District Attorney Erica Parham noted Tuesday that detectives Michele Deery, Matthew Cresta and Anthony Ruggieri only began investigating the thefts after receiving a call from a representative at the Newtown Square branch of Customers Bank for a possible theft from one of its customers. Read more »

Few elder-abuse cases lead to criminal charges, federal study indicates

Tuesday December 17th 2013
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CANADA- Only a small proportion of elder-abuse cases investigated by police result in criminal charges because victims want to maintain family relationships and fear winding up in seniors’ homes, a federal study suggests.

Canadian Justice Department researchers who looked at 453 cases of allegedly abused elderly people handled by Ottawa police over a five-year period found charges were laid in 17 per cent of files.

That’s considerably lower than the one-quarter of police probes that typically lead to charges.

In more than half of the elder-abuse cases in which no one was charged, there was either insufficient evidence or the victim refused to co-operate with police.

Possible explanations include a desire to maintain family ties, fear and anxiety about institutionalization and loss of independence, as well as factors such as financial dependency, disability or illness, the study says.

“The vulnerabilities that put older Canadians at risk of victimization can also create barriers to criminal investigations and the criminal justice system as a response.” Read more »

Mount Carmel man charged with neglect of malnourished mother

Wednesday December 4th 2013
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MOUNT CARMEL – An 86-year-old borough woman was found last month to be malnourished, dehydrated and living in wretched conditions, and her son is charged with his mother’s neglect.

Joseph Francis Campbell, 56, of 213 S. Vine St., Mount Carmel, was charged Monday by Cpl. David Donkochik with counts of neglect of a care-dependent person and forgery, both felonies, along with a misdemeanor count of recklessly endangering another person.  He was arraigned Tuesday and jailed in Northumberland County Prison, Sunbury, in lieu of $150,000 cash bail. A preliminary hearing before Magisterial District Judge Hugh A. Jones, Mount Carmel, is scheduled for Dec. 11.

Campbell was the primary caregiver for his mother, Rose Marcoon, at their South Vine Street home. Dr. Peter McNeil, a Mount Carmel family physician, told police he hadn’t seen Marcoon since May and went to her home unannounced about 1:30 p.m. Nov. 1 to check on her well-being. He entered the unlocked home and called her name and heard her respond from upstairs.  McNeil found her in a filthy bedroom lying on a mattress stained by body fluids, her pants the same way. There were no bedsheets on the mattress, only a dirty blanket. A stale waffle was beneath the blanket and a water bottle and plate laid on the floor. Alert but disoriented, Marcoon was thirsty and hungry, her stomach concave, and there were open sores and contusions all about her body.

The doctor called for paramedics who upon arrival called for a police officer, and for the officer to bring a camera. Read more »

Elderly Maine couple’s plight moves others to give

Wednesday November 20th 2013
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Some Maine Sunday Telegram readers remember Pauline Long as the lunch lady from school. Others know her husband, Cedric, as the older man who takes walks in his Camden neighborhood and greets all the dogs with treats. Many people didn’t know them at all, but felt moved by the Longs’ story to help the elderly couple, who were financially exploited by their daughter-in-law and son.  Gary and Deborah Long got $164,000 that put his parents’ home on the line.

Regardless of their reasons, neighbors from just down the street – and strangers from as far away as Scotland and Hong Kong – had raised more than $9,200 as of Friday for the Longs.

“I read the story and was horrified by it. I lost sleep about it. I put it on Facebook and there was this miraculous rush of people asking, ‘How can we help?’ ” said Loriel Van Dusen of Camden. “I thought: ‘Why am I just sitting here? I could do something.’ ”  Van Dusen created a GoFundMe site to collect donations. She has been in touch with the Longs and their attorney, Denis Culley at Legal Services for the Elderly in Augusta, to make sure donations get handled properly.  “So many people seemed really willing to help. I thought I should strike while people’s interest was high. I wanted to make it as simple for people as possible to help,” Van Dusen said. Read more »

Senior victim to valued friend

Wednesday November 20th 2013
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Eliot Karasick is a retired Wall Street executive who moved to The Landings in 2000 with a big heart for those less blessed. When he hired Amy Lynn Lee as a housekeeper, he thought he had found a valued friend, someone he treated like a family member.  By the time Karasick caught on, Lee had defrauded him out of more than a quarter of a million dollars, including a four-bedroom home in Pooler and a new Toyota Camry.

“I was disappointed,” Karasick, 88, said. “I couldn’t believe how any human being could do that to another human being.”

For Assistant District Attorney Shalena Cook Jones, Karasick represented a common denominator for a large portion of the more than 75 elder-abuse cases she carries as part of her caseload at any time as District Attorney Meg Heap’s elder-abuse prosecutor.  “Really, there’s so much back story to these cases,” Jones said She understood Karasick’s plight and moved to address it. Working with Savannah-Chatham police financial crimes detective Raymond Woodberry, Jones took an 11-count indictment to Chatham County Superior Court Judge Penny Haas Freesemann, got Lee to admit her actions and recovered a large portion of Karasik’s lost assets.  In many cases, such as Karasick’s, the issue is financial fraud or similar circumstances.

Other cases of elder abuse may involve neglect, physical violence or even death. Frequently, the person committing the abuse will be a family member, many of whom are motivated simply by greed, Jones said. The whole area of elder abuse crimes is a fairly new one in the law and one that is still developing, Jones said.

“Elder abuse confounds people. We still don’t know what we are looking at,” she said.  “It’s much deeper than I expected.” Read more »

IRS scam in Lebanon County

Wednesday November 20th 2013
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The Lebanon County District Attorney’s Office Elder Abuse Unit is issuing a reminder to seniors to be wary of attempts to financially exploit them.

A woman reported her elderly mother was contacted this week by a person representing they were from the Internal Revenue Service and were calling about late payments.  When the woman did not cooperate with requests to send money, the caller threatened her with arrest and police contact. Although shaken and upset, the woman did not suffer a financial loss as a result of this contact but this incident serves as a reminder to all to be alert to scammers during the upcoming holiday season.

Phone scammers are targeting taxpayers and extorting money from them by pretending to be with the Internal Revenue Service.  Scammers are able to spoof the caller ID and give the appearance the call is originating from the IRS.  The scammers will call and say that the target owes money to the IRS and must pay immediately with a debit card or wire-transfer.  If the victim refuses, they are threatened with arrest, deportation, or having their business or driver’s license suspended.  Frequently the caller will then become hostile and insulting. Read more »

Police: Family members bilked elderly parents out of $697,000

Wednesday November 20th 2013
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A Pike County man and his wife will be tried for allegedly bilking her elderly parents — who were living in Lancaster County — out of nearly $700,000. District Judge Rodney Hartman ordered John and Sue Fisher to stand trial on three counts of felony theft and related charges after a preliminary hearing Friday.

Northern Lancaster Regional police allege the Fishers tricked Sue’s elderly father, Robert Hoover, into signing a document in 2009 that granted them power of transfer. The Fishers then transferred $697,000 from the Hoovers’ bank account into their own, according to police.

Robert and Dorothy Hoover had no access to that account, according to First Assistant District Attorney Megan King, lead prosecutor. Robert Hoover was told the document had been sent from his bank and required a signature, police allege. Read more »

Homer City woman accused of $182K theft from mother

Monday November 4th 2013
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A Homer City woman allegedly stole more than $182,000 from her 73-year-old mother in Indiana by liquidating her $125,000 life insurance policy and taking money from her monthly Social Security and black lung benefits checks, state police said.  Kimberly Lynn Fulton, 48, allegedly stole the money from October 2008 to last February by altering her mother’s power-of-attorney documents to exclude her siblings from involvement in their mother’s finances and to take control of her financial records, police said.

Fulton was charged on Thursday with felony counts of theft, theft by deception and theft by failure to make required disposition of funds, plus a misdemeanor count of tampering with records.  Police allege that Fulton cashed the $125,000 life insurance policy and deposited the money into her own bank accounts. Read more »

To Combat Elder Abuse, Doormen Are Enlisted to Keep a Watchful Eye

Friday October 25th 2013
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Michael Marlow, a doorman at the Gracie Mews apartment building on the Upper East Side, does a lot more than just open doors for residents. He unscrews their jar lids, runs to the store for apple juice, listens to their complaints about spouses and children, and even reaches into his own pocket to lend a couple of dollars for cab fare.

Joy Solomon, director and managing attorney of the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Center for Elder Abuse Prevention, held a training session for doormen from several Manhattan buildings.

Now the amiable doorman’s ever-expanding job will include one more task: looking out for abuse of elderly residents. “We see everybody coming in and out,” said Mr. Marlow, 54, who has worked at Gracie Mews for 15 years. “If something’s wrong, we would notice.”

Mr. Marlow and his co-workers at Gracie Mews, a full-service building where the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $3,500, are part of a new program that aims to use the existing human infrastructure of city living to keep a closer eye on the elderly.

The program, which was developed by the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Center for Elder Abuse Prevention at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale, offers free on-site training and assistance to doormen, concierges, porters and other building staff across New York City. Read more »

Australian woman’s death reveals horrors of elder abuse

Tuesday October 22nd 2013
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Click here to read this important story by the Associated Press as published in USA Today.

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