An elderly man's housekeeper and the housekeeper's husband scammed the man out of nearly $1.2 million, officials in Montgomery, County, Maryland, say.
Beti Molina and Javier Molina face decades behind bars after being convicted Monday of conspiracy and exploitation of a vulnerable adult.
Prosecutors say they that swindled Aspen Hill resident Gustave Shapiro out of cash starting when he was 95 years old. The crime was not discovered until after Shapiro had died at age 99.
"It's elder abuse, and it's theft. This is a theft by deception, theft by defrauding and theft by coercion," said Ramon Korionoff, spokesman for the Montgomery County State's Attorney's Office.
The Molinas used Shapiro's money to gamble, buy a car, put a down payment on a house and pay tuition for the daughter.
Beti Molina was Shapiro’s housekeeper, who was hired shortly after Shapiro's wife of 70 years died.
Shapiro was a retired U.S. Department of Treasury worker. He was described as lonely, depressed and delusional when the scam occurred.
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In 2012, the year Shapiro and Beti Molina met, the man withdrew only $14,000 from his bank accounts. In the following years, $543,000, $37,200 and $231,000 were taken out. In addition to gaining access to Shapiro's bank accounts, Beti Molina had the elderly man put her name on the deed to the house he had owned since 1957.
Eagle-eyed bank officials noticed something was wrong.
A video was shown in court of Shapiro signing over power of attorney to the couple, as well as photos of the car and home they bought with the money. Prosecutors said at one point, the duo was gambling $60,000 to $70,000 a month with Shapiro’s money.
Beti and Javier Molina each could face 55 years in prison for their crimes.