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A Cambria Heights woman who was the former director of social work at a Flushing medical facility was indicted Monday on charges that she stole about $220,000 from an elderly patient who was suffering from dementia, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.
The 85-year-old victim, Walter Witko, who had dementia and other ailments, was admitted to the Long Island Care Center at 114-61 38th Ave. in Flushing Nov. 25, 2009, and had no known living relatives but was close to a neighbor who was listed as the contact person on his admission papers, the DA said.
Jennifer Robinson, 36, of 117-36 225th St. in Cambria Heights, was named as the man’s agent on his health care proxy March 22, 2010, and a living will was allegedly executed by Witko with Robinson, who was the director of social work at the center, as a witness, Brown said.
Robinson faced up to 15 years in prison if convicted of the charges, the DA said.
Around May 12, 2010, Witko executed a power of attorney document appointing Robinson as his attorney-in-fact, Brown said.
All of the documents were allegedly executed while Witko was suffering from dementia, the DA said.
On June 25, 2010, Witko was admitted to New York Hospital Queens and when he was released Robinson allegedly arranged for him to be admitted to another nursing home, Atlantis Rehabilitation and Residential Health Care Facility, instead of the Flushing facility where she worked, the DA said.
On the admission papers to Atlantis, Robinson allegedly listed herself as Witko’s niece and said she had power of attorney, Brown said.
Witko’s neighbor became concerned over his transfer to a different health-care facility and attempted to contact the defendant on numerous occasions, but was not successful, the DA said.
Between March 2010 and July 2010, Robinson allegedly wrote checks and withdrew funds totaling $220,000 from Witko’s Dime Savings Bank account.
Witko died July 16, 2010, at Atlantis and Robinson arranged for his body to be cremated at the Piro Funeral Home but did not notify Witko’s neighbor, the DA claimed.
“The defendant is accused of stealing the life savings of a helpless individual to whom she was supposed to be administering care,” Brown said in a statement. “Instead, she allegedly treated him as a cash cow, writing checks off of his bank account and pocketing money. This alleged crime is a terrible betrayal of trust and will be vigorously prosecuted.”
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4573.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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