|Jacqueline M. Henry|
An 86-year-old woman was living in a facility for senior citizens in Libertyville when in January 2015 administrators said her rent was not being paid, according to Sgt. Chad Roszkowiak of the Libertyville police department.
Jacqueline M. Henry, 53, of the 1600 block of Belle Haven Drive, Grayslake, had power of attorney over the elderly woman and joint access to bank accounts, Roszkowiak said.
"This relative oversaw the finances, and part of that was to make sure the lease payments were being made," Roszkowiak said. "When that stopped happening, the victim went to the bank to find out what was happening and discovered that her money was pretty much gone."
Over nearly two years, Roszkowiak said he and others have subpoenaed financial documents and found unjust financial activity dating as far back as 2010 that totaled over $200,000.
After showing evidence to a judge, police say they were granted a warrant and Henry was taken into custody at her home on Oct. 21. Documents show Henry was charged with financial exploitation of an elderly person, money laundering, and theft.
Attempts to reach Henry for comment were unsuccessful.
Roszkowiak said officers were not able to recover any money. He said a judge could order restitution if Henry is found guilty.
The 86-year-old woman was in a facility with provided meals and programming for socializing, but Roszkowiak said she's now alone in an apartment that she is paying for through public assistance.
"I go around and give presentations to our senior community about lottery scams and people calling claiming to be their grandkids, and the decoy burglaries schemes where people pretend to work for ComEd or some other company," Roszkowiak said, noting that he's Libertyville's lead officer on crimes against seniors. "Unfortunately, this type of abuse by family is another risk the elderly need to be conscious of."
Generally speaking, Roszkowiak said people who give power of attorney should create checks and balances by choosing more than one person, setting up review sessions, and setting a limit on how much money can be moved at one time or per month.
"Is this the first time we've investigated a crime against a senior citizen? Unfortunately no," Roszkowiak said. "Every community deals with this issue."
Roszkowiak said groups of people make a living and have turf wars over pretending to be repairmen and robbing people of jewelry and cash. He said seniors should always call the company or family who ordered the service before letting anyone inside the house.
But for this 86-year-old Libertyville woman, Roszkowiak said everything happened without her knowledge and Henry is not part of any organized crime group or larger conspiracy.
"The elderly are often seen as easy targets because they've let their guard down after getting through the rigors of life," Roszkowiak said. "We should all make time to check in on our loved ones and neighbors."
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Family member charged with stealing $200K from Libertyville woman