Couple Caught Taking More Than $1 Million From Elderly Man

A Maryland man in his 90's and suffering from dementia was taken advantage of by a couple who were supposed to be helping him. As the man's mental faculties were in decline, the couple kept getting him to sign away more of his money and estate to them.

They ended up stealing $1.2 million before being caught. A jury found them guilty on several charges.

Gustave Shapiro, then a 95-year-old man, lost his wife of 70 years back in 2013. At the time, his maid, 51-year-old Ana Molina, offered to begin helping him with more than just housework.

She and her husband claimed to be caring for the aging man, but instead they were stealing his money right out from under his nose.

Molina quickly took over the elderly man's finances. Her 58-year-old husband, Javier Molina, helped her and eventually the couple obtained power of attorney over Shapiro.

They had him move in with them and pretended that they were his doting caretakers, but instead they were neglecting him and bleeding the old man dry.

The couple convinced the elderly man to cut his son out of his will. They tricked him into naming them the beneficiaries of his estate. The couple then started having Shapiro write checks to them and began withdrawing hundreds of thousands of dollars from his accounts.

They also bought a lavish home with the elderly gentleman’s money.

It was bank officials that first noted strange activity on Shapiro's accounts. Hundreds of thousands started filtering out in large lump sums. They called adult protective services, which seek to ensure that elderly and disabled adults are not being abused, neglected or taken advantage of by other people.

The case was vigorously investigated, and many alarming discoveries were made.

The home they purchased so they could supposedly live with Shapiro had no adjustments to make it accessible for a disabled man. Shapiro was wheelchair-bound and couldn’t even go up and down the stairs.

Mr. Molina racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in gambling losses. The money they took was also used to pay for art school.

Meanwhile, Mr. Shapiro was left isolated in his bedroom inside the home he shared with the couple. During an investigation, Shapiro told police he felt like a prisoner in his own home.

“They kept him upstairs in a room that had no access to the downstairs floors because he could barely walk and so the only way that he could get down the stairs was on his bottom," said the prosecuting attorney.

Before the case went to court, Mr. Shapiro passed away. The Molinas were indicted earlier this year and convicted of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult, theft scheme and a number of other charges. They each can be sentenced to up to 55 years for their crimes.

Shapiro's relatives say they're very grateful that the Molinas have been prosecuted for their crimes.

UPDATE: Ana Molina was given a sentence of ten years in jail with five years of probation, while her husband, Javier, was sentenced to six years with five years of probation.

Source: AOL, Patch
Photos: WJLA, DCW50 Screenshots

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