When she got the letter in the mail the summer of 2008, 90-year-old Queen E. Hersh of Emmaus did not understand what it meant, so she went to her neighbors.
Hersh handed the bank letter to her neighbors, who asked their son-in-law for help. Louis Ciocco, the son-in-law, told Hersh she might lose her home of more than 50 years.
"I think we have a problem here," Ciocco testified he told Hersh after reading the foreclosure notice.
The first day of testimony at a preliminary hearing for the three people accused of stealing almost everything from Hersh, including her longtime home in Emmaus and a vacation home in the Poconos, focused on Penelope Veronikis, who authorities say masterminded the alleged thefts.
Hersh would die months after learning she had been taken for more than $260,000, authorities say, adding that the "despair and devastation" she felt may have contributed to her deteriorating health and, possibly, her death.
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Three Face Charges in Bilking Emmaus Woman Out of $260,000