Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Plots Against Helpless Elderly Pick Up

by Megan Boehnke as published in The Arizona Republic

Five people were indicted last week in four separate fraud schemes all aimed at weaseling elderly Valley residents out of their money, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office announced Monday.

Sylvia Cubit, 40, a phlebotomist at Scottsdale Healthcare Shea, was indicted in a plot to steal patients' checkbooks and credit cards while they were staying in the hospital. When police searched her home, they found receipts for a TV, video-game system and gift cards.

Janice E. Lindahl, 58, faces 10 counts of fraud theft and elder abuse after police say she fleeced a 91-year-old neighbor who suffers from Alzheimer's, out of $85,000. Police say she convinced the Phoenix woman to sign over her power of attorney and allow Lindahl to pay her bills. According to the probable-cause statement, Lindahl purchased televisions, video-game systems and car work with the victim's money, and hired Lindahl's mother to care for the woman, even though the mother had no caregiving experience.

Nicholas King, 23, and Nathan Cameron Spotten, 18, have also been indicted. Police say they called elderly residents, claimed to be bank representatives and convinced the victims to give up debit-card and pin numbers.

Benjamin Baker, 28, pled guilty to attempting to take the identity of another on Feb. 6, when he opened a charge account using his 78-year-old grandmother's identity.

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