Bank Teller Sentenced for Embezzling from Customer Accounts

Tuesday August 20th 2013
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GREENBELT, MD—U.S. District Judge Paul W. Grimm sentenced Irene Quansah, age 37, of Germantown, Maryland, today to two years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for embezzlement and income tax evasion. Judge Grimm also entered an order that Quansah forfeit and pay restitution of $144,908.33 to the victim bank and $30,000 to the IRS.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Kelly of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office.

“Ms. Quansah’s embezzlement scheme to steal from her employer’s customer bank accounts was illegal, and her act of deliberately underreporting her embezzlement income on her federal tax returns is unlawful,” said Thomas J. Kelly, Special Agent in Charge, IRS-Criminal Investigation, Washington DC Field Office. “IRS-Criminal Investigation will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to bring to justice those that abuse their positions of trust and steal from innocent victims. Today’s sentencing is a reminder that there are detrimental consequences for this type of criminal behavior.” Read more »

Rape case stems from NY hotline call

Wednesday August 14th 2013
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ALBANY, N.Y. — A social worker at a Westchester County mental health center has been accused a raping a client in the first criminal case stemming from a new state hotline meant to protect disabled New Yorkers.

Nelson Acevedo, 42, a counselor at the Guidance Center of Westchester in New Rochelle, faces one count of felony rape and two misdemeanor counts of sexual abuse, authorities said. He pleaded not guilty Monday in city court, with bail set at $100,000. He’s been placed on administrative leave from his job. A call to his attorney was not immediately returned Tuesday.

Guidance center staff first reported the allegations to the 24-hour hotline at the state Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs, where the report was processed and the caller told to contact New Rochelle police, who investigated.  “The ability to quickly be able to report the abuse, as in this case through the Justice Center’s hotline, enables investigations to be launched, subsequent prosecutions to move forward,” Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore said. Her office is prosecuting the case. Read more »

Jail, Home confinement for stealing from elderly aunt

Wednesday August 14th 2013
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(Danville)  A Northumberland area woman will spend three months in jail and six months in home confinement for stealing $15,841 from her elderly aunt to use for college tuition for her son.

Elizabeth “Betsy” Stump Petersen, 47, was also ordered to pay a $100,000 fine.  That fine is mandatory for a charge of dealing in proceedings of unlawful activities, according to Judge Gary Norton who sentenced her Monday in Montour County Court.  The statute states the minimum fine is $100,000 or twice the amount stolen whichever is greater.  In addition to jail time for theft by deception, Norton sentenced her to pay a $500 fine, undergo supervised probation for 15 months and to do 30 hours of community service.  He also ordered her to pay back the $15,841 stolen.  For the unlawful activities charge Norton also imposed a concurrent term of three months in jail and six months electronic monitoring. For theft, he ordered her to pay a $300 fine and placed her on probation for a two-year concurrent term. Read more »

Fall 2013 Protective Services Basic Training

Monday August 12th 2013
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Fall 2013 Protective Services Basic Training

October 22nd to 25th, we are offering Protective Services Basic Training in State College.

This 3 ½ day course is the mandatory training for staff that will conduct protective service investigations. The training is focused on the basic knowledge and tools that AAA staff need to know to conduct thorough and comprehensive investigations. Training modules are based on OAPSA and related regulations. Participants must complete all 3 ½ days of training.

  Read more »

Elder Abuse: Allegations of Financial Exploitation

Monday August 12th 2013
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PRESS RELEASE:  District Attorney Stefanie J. Salavantis has announced that the Dallas Borough Police  Department and the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office, with the assistance of Pennsylvania Department of Aging, Luzerne/Wyoming Counties Area Agency on Aging and the Institute on Protective Services at Temple University, have made the arrest of Sharon Mae Jacobosky on three counts of theft by failure to make required disposition of funds required.

Ms. Jacobosky was arraigned today at the Office of District Justice James Tupper, receiving a  $5,000.00 cash bail and has since been incarcerated at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility. An investigation commenced after Dallas Borough Chief James Drury received a complaint that  Ms. Jacobosky, who was the caregiver and Power-of-Attorney for Clemetine Moseman, was  removing funds for her own personal benefit.  A forensic audit was performed by the Institute on Protective Services at Temple University on all accounts belonging to Ms. Moseman and Pamela Wehrenberg, Ms. Moseman’s disabled daughter, to determine if funds were stolen.  The audit found evidence that Ms. Jacobosky received $258,538.30 of Ms. Moseman’s funds between January 1, 2009 and November 4, 2011.

The preliminary hearing has been scheduled for August 22, 2013 at 9:30 a.m. at the office of  District Justice Tupper.

District Attorney Salavantis stated, “An overwhelming number of cases of elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation go undetected each year.  Unfortunately, some of these vulnerable adults are abused by family members, service providers and caregivers as seen by today’s arrest of Ms. Jacobosky.  If you know of an elder whom you believe may be the victim of abuse, please call Luzerne/Wyoming Counties Area Agency on Aging at (800) 252-1512 or the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office at (570) 825-1674.”

Nephew stole 93-year-old’s life savings

Monday August 12th 2013
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A Pen Argyl man is charged with 17 counts of theft and related crimes for depleting the life savings of his 93-year-old uncle by using power of attorney and converting property and money for his personal use, according to the Lehigh County’s District Attorney’s Office.

Scott Lee Bartholomew, 52 of the 100 block of Acker Street, is accused of stealing more than $200,000 from his uncle, Wilbur B. Stiles, authorities said. The crimes happened from January 2006 to June 2012, the district attorney’s office said.  Because he lost his home to foreclosure and his life savings, police said, Stiles is living in a veterans center in the Scranton, Pa., area.

Bartholomew is being held in Lehigh County Prison in lieu of 10 percent of $200,000 bail.

An investigation by South Whitehall Township police, with help from the Institute for Protective Services at Temple University, alleged that a minimum of $217,498 had been diverted from Stiles to Bartholomew, authorities said.  According to an affidavit filed by South Whitehall police Sgt. Michael A. Sorrentino, Sorrentino conducted numerous interviews with agencies and individuals since December 2012 when investigators learned Bartholomew was acting with power of attorney for Stiles.  Read more »

Cellphone video prompts Action News investigation into elder abuse

Thursday August 8th 2013
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GLASSPORT, Pa. —One in 10 older people will likely be abused this year — that’s more than 4 million people.

But in the media and society, elder abuse often goes unnoticed and is underreported.

With the help of a viewer who shared his evidence, a Channel 4 Action News investigation hopes to expose an old problem in Pennsylvania that’s expected to get worse with age. Thomas Spradlin contacted WTAE for help after he captured cellphone video of an elderly woman who was slapped in the back of the head by her daughter at the Glassport Diner. He turned the video over to the Department of Human Services, but he wanted to make sure they pursued an investigation.

“I just wasn’t satisfied with them saying they were going to send an investigator,” Spradlin said.  Then he called Channel 4 Action News to help keep tabs on the case.  He said he captured the abuse at the diner several weeks ago after he noticed disturbing behavior.  “I saw her get up once and actually slap her (the elder woman’s) hand and was yelling at her because she was lifting a fork to her mouth without food on it, and after that, I started to tape it on my phone. I mean, it was just disgusting,” said Spradlin.  During his seven-minute clip, other eyebrow-raising behavior can be seen. You can’t hear the pair’s conversation, but Spradlin said others wouldn’t want too.  “She was saying ‘you’re (expletive) me off’ and I heard ‘you stupid (expletive).’ Basically, stuff like that, yelling at her like she was a child or something,” said Spradlin.  Diner staff members Channel 4 Action News spoke to would not go on camera, but they said the mother has been abused by her daughter at the same table, on and off, for at least 10 years.  Spradlin said there were four other people at the diner. While he regrets not speaking up during the abuse, he did not stay quiet afterwards and filed a report with the county.

Donald Grant, with Allegheny County’s Department of Human Services, said elder abuse is on the rise, with the victims age 60 and older. The abuse can take several forms, including neglect, financial exploitation and physical harm. Channel 4 showed him Spradlin’s cellphone video. Read more »

Officials spell out threat to elderly

Friday August 2nd 2013
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DALLAS TWP. — Beware of a S.C.A.M.

That was the message for seniors and their caregivers Monday as state Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane, area legislators and members of the Elder Abuse Task Force of Luzerne and Wyoming Counties gathered at Misericordia University to discuss strategies for preventing older people from becoming the victims of abuse, including scams to separate them from their money.

Advocates have turned the word “scam” into an acronym to underscore the key points for seniors to watch for whenever they are presented with a deal that sounds too good to be true: “sudden,” “contact,” “act immediately” and “money.”

“The number-one type we see is the sweepstakes or lottery scam,” said Kane spokeswoman Carolyn E. Myers, describing solicitations in which seniors are asked to submit money or account information to claim some kind of cash prize.

“The bottom line is, as quickly as we shut one down, another one pops up,” added state Rep. Phyllis Mundy, D-Kingston. “People are immensely creative in terms of how they try to bilk other people out of the money they’ve saved.”

Trula Hollywood, executive director of the Area Agency on Aging for Luzerne and Wyoming Counties, agreed.  “They are very prevalent. Scams can show up in people’s mail boxes several times a week,” Hollywood said. Read more »

Marple woman charged in theft of $137,000 from 86-year-old woman

Monday July 22nd 2013
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A Marple woman accused of stealing more than $137,000 from an 86-year-old family friend allegedly told the senior victim that she needed the money to cover her husband’s medical expenses.  In reality, Madeline J. Guglielmo allegedly used the ill-gotten money for shopping sprees at Coach, Nordstrom, Victoria’s Secret and several other places, none providing health care services, authorities said.

As a result of the fraud, authorities say the unwitting senior victim suffered a financial loss totaling $137,302.31.

Charged Friday with felony theft and related offenses, Guglielmo, 51, of the 2500 block of Franklin Avenue in Broomall, was remanded to the county prison in lieu of posting 10 percent of $10,000 bail, according to online court documents.

“I want to commend the detectives who work diligently to protect our elderly residents from being victimized,” Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan said in announcing Guglielmo’s arrest. “We consider crimes against seniors especially heinous because they are our more vulnerable residents and we prosecute those who commit these terrible crimes to the fullest extent of the law.”

Guglielmo’s arrest capped a month-long investigation by Detective Michele Deery, assisted by Detectives Matthew Cresta and Anthony Ruggieri, all members of the Delaware County Criminal Investigation Division’s Senior Exploitation Unit. The probe was initiated after Deery received a call on June 4 from a representative from the Newtown Square branch of Customers Bank, reporting a possible theft. Read more »

Man arrested after elderly men found in squalid Texas home

Monday July 22nd 2013
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The 31-year-old grandson of the owner of a house in Houston was arrested and charged Saturday after police discovered four malnourished men locked in a garage that investigators say was turned into a prison with no bathroom or beds.  Walter Renard Jones is charged with injury to the elderly by act and injury to the elderly by omission., according to police.  Investigators believe Jones used an old garage in north Houston to imprison the men in deplorable conditions. The garage had no beds or bathrooms and had only minimal furniture, police said.

“They apparently were given scraps to eat, very little food was provided to them, they didn’t have access to a restroom,” said Jodi Silva, a spokeswoman for the Houston Police Department.

While in captivity, the men said Jones stole their social security and veterans benefits checks. Read more »

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