For the third time in three weeks, a person has admitted stealing a big chunk of money from an elderly person.
This time, a Bassett Manor administrator stole more than $110,000 from a 69-year-old resident of the Amherst assisted-living and retirement home, prosecutors said Monday.
Charmesa Brown, 40, of Linda Drive, Cheektowaga, pleaded guilty to second-degree grand larceny for writing checks to herself from the victim’s account between October 2010 and July 2012.
The resident’s credit union alerted authorities after spotting so many checks made out to Brown, said Assistant District Attorney Candace K. Vogel, who specializes in cases of financial abuse of the elderly.
Each check was for thousands of dollars.
Brown would prepare a check to the facility for the victim to sign but also prepare another check that she would cash for herself, Vogel said.
“Sadly, financial elder abuse is becoming more frequent in Erie County and across New York State,” said Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III, who was recently selected as co-chairman of a state task force on white-collar crime.
“Not only will my office continue to aggressively prosecute those who prey upon our senior citizens in Buffalo and Erie County, but I will also endeavor to make the aggressive prosecution of these contemptible crooks a top priority of the New York White- Collar Crime Task Force.”
Bassett Manor has approached or will approach the victim’s family about covering her loss, Vogel said.
“She should get most of it back,” she said.
Brown’s guilty plea followed two others in recent weeks in cases of financial abuse of the elderly.
Last week, Richard Kesick, 57, of Laird Avenue, admitted telling lies for years and even impersonating a judge over the telephone to steal more than $500,000 from a 91-year-old Catholic priest.
On Oct. 17, Pamela M. Blood, 56, a paralegal at Hiscock & Barclay’s Buffalo offices, admitted stealing more than $311,000 from a 77-year-old heiress.
Blood, who was hired to help keep track of the woman’s finances, wrote checks from the widow’s accounts to herself for more than seven years.
Prosecutors on Monday said Brown had agreed to assist the Bassett Manor victim, who did not have family members in the area, in writing checks to the facility to cover her bills.
But Brown also wrote checks to herself and spent the money on herself, Vogel said.
Brown pleaded guilty to second-degree grand larceny and offering a false instrument for filing in the first-degree before Erie County Judge Thomas P. Franczyk.
Assistant District Attorney Gary M. Ertel said the false-filing charge was lodged because Brown did not report the stolen money when she filled out her state income tax return.
Brown faces a minimum prison sentence of one to three years and a maximum of five to 15 years on the grand larceny count, or the judge could sentence her to five years’ probation. She also faces up to four years in prison on the false-filing count.
Altogether, Brown faces up to 19 years in state prison when sentenced Feb. 1.
Franczyk did not commit to any sentence for Brown, a single mother of a teenage daughter. He said he wants to read her presentence report and hear from prosecutors and her defense lawyer, Kevin Spitler. “There will be an order of restitution,” he said.
If she is sentenced to prison on the two counts, the terms would likely run at the same time, the judge told her. He said he would lean toward the minimum prison term. He allowed her to remain free on her own recognizance.