A nurse and a part-time kindergarten teacher have been charged with the theft of more than $700,000 from a 94-year-old North Side man.
Deborah Johnson, 53, of Columbus, the nurse, and Anita Esquibel, 68, of Columbus, the teacher, are accused by Columbus police of stealing more than $700,000 from Peter Svaldi.
The two met him at an apartment building near Graceland Shopping Center, said Kevin Craine, attorney for Svaldi's newly appointed guardian. The women were the property managers, said the guardian, Lorelei Lanier. The women gained Svaldi's trust, then bought real estate, a car and jewelry with money they took from his accounts after gaining power of attorney, Craine said.
"I think this stuff happens a lot more than anybody knows, through power of attorney," Craine said. "I don't know the circumstances how he gave them power of attorney, but he definitely gave it to them. In the wrong hands, it can become a license to steal.
Svaldi is "definitely incapacitated," Craine said. "That's how this happened. He's aware of what happened, but it took him a while to process that. It's one of the more heinous cases I've seen, and we do a lot of this kind of work, unfortunately."
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2 Women Accused in Rip-Off of Senior