95-year old conned out of life savings

95-year old conned out of life savings

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - She uses a walker, but is otherwise a healthy 95-year old.

The elderly woman, who we are not naming, is also very independent.  Up until recently, she lived alone in her downtown Honolulu condo.

She befriended a man in his late 40's who worked in the condo as a caretaker for another elderly resident.  And when that other resident passed, the man started caring for her: Running errands, taking her to appointments, things her family was doing.

"He started alienating her from her family," says Lynne Madden, the woman's niece.

The woman doesn't have children so she depended on the nieces and nephews, until she met the man.

Madden began to grow worried, but her aunt seemed happy.

It wasn't until months later that she realized the 95-year old was writing checks to the man.  Most for about $250, every three days.  But some of the checks were in the thousands. We saw copies of $6,000 checks.

And then, Madden found out that the man had opened a joint credit card, using the woman's name as the primary card holder.   The balance on that credit card was over $10,000.  And that's not all, he also convinced the woman to take out money from a reverse mortgage.

"My aunt was a hard-working lady, a nurse," says Madden, who says the woman's credit is now ruined, he wiped out her life savings, and her condo is now for sale to pay off debt.

"The elderly make great victims," says Honolulu Police Lieutenant John McCarthy, of the Financial Crime Detail.

"That's the generation they grew up in.  They trusted people, gave willingly," says Lt. McCarthy.

These 'caretaker crimes' are difficult for police and prosecutors because the victims don't always cooperate.  In our case, the woman originally told police the money was a gift because the man was so helpful.

But after she found out about the reverse mortgage, she knew she had been conned.  The family got a restraining order against the man.  And police are still investigating.

The woman has moved into a senior center, where she keeps busy with activities.    It's made her family feel more secure.

Madden now keeps watch on her aunt's checking account, and advises others, "Be nosy," she says.

"Look at their bank statements, it's so important."

She says her family was fooled by the man who was sweet, helpful, and very pleasant to be around.  And while they all feel conned, it's her 95-year old aunt who paid the price.

We will have more on this story tonight on Hawaii News Now at 10pm.

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