BROOKHAVEN (WTXF) - A Brookhaven woman is facing theft charges after she stole allegedly stole $40,000 from her 92-year-old mother's bank account. She also allegedly created a GoFundMe page to fraudulently raise money, claiming that her mother was not in good health when she actually was.
According to Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan, 53-year-old Carol Mongrandi has been charged with theft by unlawful taking or disposition, receiving stolen property, forgery, and theft by deception, all felonies of the third degree.
The arrest and charges are the result of the conclusion of an investigation conducted by the Delaware County Criminal Investigation Division Senior Exploitation Unit.
Detective Anthony Ruggieri launched an investigation after being notified by the Ombudsman Coordinator for Delaware County, Denise Gallagher, about a senior being exploited financially.
The press release issued by the district attorney's office says that the administrator of Lima Estates called Gallagher regarding Marjorie Montgomery, a 92-year-old who had been a Lima Estates resident for 35 years.
The administrator told Gallagher that Montgomery usually paid her bills on time, but when Montgomery's daughter Carol took over as her Power of Attorney, that all changed.
Mongrandi was sent multiple letters, according to the press release, but despite that, Montgomery's account at Lima Estates was in default of approximately $32,098.16.
During the investigation, Detective Ruggieri learned that Mongrandi had been taking advantage as Montgomery's Power of Attorney by opening bank accounts and credit cards in Montgomery's name, in addition to making ATM withdrawals from her accounts.
These credit cards included ones for Sears and Capital One, which were used for Mongrandi's daily living expenses.
Mongrandi also signed her mother's name to a car loan, without her knowledge or authorization.
Additionally, the investigation revealed that Mongrandi created a GoFundMe page to seek donations from the public to assist in paying her mother's bills.
On the page, she claimed that her mother's mental and physical health were in decline after suffering two strokes, despite the fact that she actually was in good health at the time.
Mongrandi then pocketed $1,200 of the money that was raised through the page for her own use.
A search warrant was executed on all of Montgomery's financial accounts, according to the press release, and it was then determined that Mongrandi allegedly made unauthorized withdrawals totaling $40,070.25.
According to authorities, withdrawals were done without Montgomery's permission and "not in accordance with her reasonable expectations or in her best interest as expressed in the Durable Power Attorney Agreement."
"I to want commend Det. Ruggieri and the other members of our Senior Exploitation Unit who work diligently to protect our elderly residents, sadly sometimes even from their own families," said District Attorney Jack Whelan.
"It is far too often we see crimes against seniors committed by loved ones who feel entitled in their positions of authority. In this particular case, Carol Mongrandi stole from her very own mother, putting her previously sound financial accounts in default by thousands of dollars."
Mongrandi surrendered at the Criminal Investigation Unit and was released on her own recognizance under $50,000 bail following her arraignment.
A preliminary hearing has been set for December 22.