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More MS news articles for June 2004

Disabled Woman Swindled Out of $100K

June, 2004
Ohio News Network

A disabled Worthington area woman has had more than $100,000 stolen from her bank account.  And police say the multiple sclerosis victim was not targeted by strangers, but by her own caregiver.

A joint investigation by Sharon Township police and the Ohio Attorney General's office alleges that caretaker slowly gained the woman’s trust, then totally abused it.

"It just is hard to believe someone could do this to someone who depends on you,”  Pat Hochstetter said.   She’s a close friend of the victim in this case, explaining her situation.

The woman, suffering from MS, required care at home.  The person hired to take care of her may have ripped her off in excess of $100,000.

"I was so angry that someone would take advantage of her," Hochstetter continued about the embezzlement from her friend.

And police say that the someone they are looking for was the victim's licensed at-home care provider.

"It's one thing to steal from a stranger.  But to win somebody's trust like this.  You wonder how you can do it,” Hochstetter said in disbelief about the circumstances and degree of the money’s disappearance.

"She would convince the woman to sign the check and ‘Oh, I'll fill out the amount for you,’" Hochstetter explained.  "Within a period of three to four months, $30,000 was taken from her.

"You hope she would do some jail time.”

But that seems unlikely at this point.

"We got her out of our life and she skipped town."

"She came from out of state.  She's been through several states throughout the country," Sharon Township Police Chief Don Schwind said of the prime suspect, the woman’s caregiver.

That leads police to believe even more victims are out there, suffering in silence.

"I would think she's got away with it in the past," Chief Schwind said.

Sometimes victims are embarrassed in such cases of theft.

Pat Hochstetter says her friend is now trying to rebuild her life, and find a way to trust again.

The Franklin County prosecutor and a grand jury may very well indict this woman.  But as of Friday, her whereabouts were unknown.

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