Caregiver arrested for stealing veteran's identity - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Caregiver arrested for stealing veteran's identity

Tony McGrath Funes Tony McGrath Funes

A Maui police officer's son is arrested for forgery and theft of a World War II, 442nd Regimental Combat Team veteran he was supposed to care for.  Family involved in the case call it disgusting and pitiful.

Tony McGrath Funes, 26, was hired as a caregiver in April.  Instead he is accused of helping himself to his patient's identity opening up at least three credit cards in the victim's name.

"It's pretty sad to take advantage of an old person. They are trusting and you taking care of them and then you do something like that," said Steve Hiraga, victim's son.  "When he told me his dad was a police officer, it seemed like it was better, like he was an honest guy. That's one of the reasons we chose him."

Steve Hiraga says his 87 year old father suffers from dementia and Parkinson's disease.  He hired Funes to stay in the house 24/7.  But this week a neighbor found Funes passed out and foaming at the mouth after allegedly mixing prescription pills and alcohol. Neighbors called paramedics and when searching for Funes' identification found the fraudulent credit cards.

"Without that episode he could have racked up doing more things," said Hiraga.

"It's so sad. It's disgusting really. I'm sickened by it," said Suzanne McGrath, suspect's mom.

Tony Funes is the son of long time Maui Police Detective Antonio Funes who ten years ago tomorrow was killed by a drunk driver.  Now the family says the fraud and forgery charges dishonor and embarrass his dad's good name.

"My husband would be turning over in his grave over something like this. This situation is totally everything we never brought Tony up to be. It's shocking really," said McGrath. "He needs to take total and full responsibility of everything he's done whether restitution or community service or incarceration whatever the punishment is he needs to make good on whatever crime he's committed."

One in five people in Hawaii are over 60 years old and many will need caregivers.  The AARP suggests checking references and tracking credit reports to prevent being a victim.

"Just in an instant what can happen is really some unsavory individuals can take that away from them," said Steve Tam, AARP.  "This happens quite frequently more frequently than we would want."

McGrath says Tony has a history of fraud saying he used credit or debit cards belonging to two other women on Maui, one of whom is his aunt.  She hopes this will be the wakeup call he needs to get his life back on track.

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