Wilmington – Attorney General Beau Biden announced that two New Castle County residents today received jail sentences after being convicted of stealing from senior citizens.
“Senior abuse, whether it’s financial exploitation, physical abuse, or neglect, is a crime that affects one in ten older individuals,” Biden said. “Tragically, as in these cases, victims are most often abused by family members or others who are responsible for their care. I urge anyone who suspects incidents of senior abuse to call police or Delaware’s Senior Abuse Hotline at 1-800-223-9074.”
Patricia Taylor, age 53, of Middletown was sentenced to prison today for stealing $91,000 from a 78 year-old Odessa area resident for whom she had worked as a home health aid. The prosecution resulted from a criminal investigation initiated by the Middletown Police Department after receiving a report of suspicious financial activity from the victim and his family. The investigation revealed that between January, 2011 and March, 2012, Taylor stole from the victim through a plot which entailed a variety of financial schemes. These included overpaying herself $64,000 in salary and pocketing $20,000 on 16 occasions by siphoning off funds during transfers of money from an investment account to a checking account. In addition, the investigation revealed that Taylor solicited the victim for a $1,500 loan to care for her supposedly ill parents’ in-law, but instead wrote herself a $2,500 check and used it for other personal purposes. Finally, the investigation learned that Taylor used the victim’s ATM card to steal $3,800 in funds.
Taylor, who was arrested in May, 2012, pled guilty on October 11 to Crime Against a Vulnerable Adult due to Theft of $50,000 – $99,000. Today during her remarks at sentencing the prosecutor noted that the victim, a retired farmer who was widowed in 2004 and suffered a debilitating stroke in 2007, had been able to remain in his home with the assistance of home health care aids who he relied upon for daily tasks and functions, including assistance in making financial transactions. She noted that the loss from this theft has caused the victim to reduce the amount of in-home care he receives by 38 hours per week and to curtail many of the activities he previously enjoyed.
The prosecutor recommended that Taylor receive a prison sentence because of the seriousness of the offense, the abuse she committed while in a position of trust over her victim, and the multiple crimes that were committed over a period of time. Superior Court Judge Jan R. Jurden sentenced Taylor to one year in prison, followed by a lengthy term of probation, ordered her to pay restitution and have no contact with victim, and barred her from working as a home health aid worker.
Separately, David I. Walker, age 32, of New Castle, was sentenced to prison today for stealing $15,000 from a 69 year-old relative. The prosecution resulted from a criminal investigation initiated by Delaware State Police after receiving a report from the victim. The investigation revealed that Walker stole from the victim by forging the victim’s name on 27 checks in amounts ranging from $100 to more than $3,400 between December 23, 2011 and January 29, 2012.
Walker was arrested March 13, 2012 and pled guilty on September 18 to three counts of Theft of a Senior and two counts of Forgery. The prosecutor recommended that Walker receive a prison sentence and Superior Court Judge Charles H. Toliver, IV sentenced Walker to one year in prison and ordered him to pay restitution to the victim.
Biden recognized Detective Timothy Hoffecker of the Middletown Police Department for leading the complex investigation that led to the prosecution of Patricia Taylor, and Corporal James Doherty of the Delaware State Police for the investigation that led to the prosecution of David Walker.
The cases were prosecuted by the Deputy Attorney General Krista Griffith, who leads the Attorney General’s Senior Protection Initiative.
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