Two Caregivers Sentenced For Exploiting Seniors

Phoenix -- Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced today the sentencing's of Indrani Gaston of Coconino County and Pamela J. Williams of Cochise County. Both women were sentenced in separate cases after admitting to illegally using access to their victim’s finances for their own benefit.

On February 26, 2015, 69- year- old Indrani Gaston was sentenced in Coconino County Superior Court to four years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of fraudulent schemes and artifices, a class two felony. Gaston admitted to stealing $363,325.40 from a 93-year-old companion from 2009 to 2013. Additionally, later in 2013, she withdrew approximately $96,000 from the victim’s line of credit secured by his home. Gaston used the money to support her gambling habit. Casino records show that Gaston, whose only legitimate source of income is Social Security, lost $1,079,216.00 while gambling between 2007 and 2013. 

Gaston became the victim’s caretaker after his wife of 40 years died in 2007. Gaston was a family friend and agreed to assist the WWII veteran by writing checks to pay bills and household expenses. Gaston wrote the checks and the victim signed them. Gaston logged the checks in the account registered as being paid for utilities and household expenses, but the cashed checks showed they were made out to Gaston for much larger amounts and deposited into her personal account. Gaston also became a signor on the victim’s checking account and was named co-trustee on his living trust. Between July 20, 2009 and May 31, 2011, Gaston wrote 27 checks payable to herself from the Living Trust account without the permission of the victim. These checks totaled $180,280.67. 

Gaston intercepted the Wells Fargo bank statements and the victim did not become aware of these actions until July of 2013 when he filed for an order of protection against her. Gaston was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $363,325.40 to the victim and $95,879.69 to Wells Fargo Bank. This case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Beverly Rudnick.

The second case is about 66- year- old Pamela Williams. On January 27, 2015, she plead guilty to one count of Theft and Financial Exploitation of a Vulnerable Adult, a class three felony. Williams worked as an in-home caregiver for Brightstar Home Health Care. Her 81- year- old victim could not care for herself due to medical issues and dementia. Over the course of nearly three years, Williams used her power of attorney to embezzle $20,477.22 from the victim’s checking and money market accounts. Some of Williams’ illegal financial transactions include making a down payment on a vehicle and paying off her home mortgage.

On February 25, 2015 Williams was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in the Department of Corrections and ordered to pay restitution, as well as other fines and fees.

“The Oro Valley Police Department is committed to addressing and investigating the exploitation of vulnerable adult crimes in our community,” said Chief Oro Valley Police Chief Daniel G. Sharp. “We are grateful for the cooperation of the Attorney General’s Office in assisting with the successful prosecution of this case.”

The charges filed in Pima County are a result of a joint investigation conducted by the Oro Valley Police Department and the Arizona Attorney General’s Office. Assistant Attorney General Jesse Delaney handled this case.

“I ran on a pledge to protect the most vulnerable members of our society,” said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. “It’s a priority of this office to protect those who cannot defend themselves and prosecute those who prey on seniors.”

To report suspected financial crimes against seniors please contact the Attorney General’s Taskforce Against Senior Abuse (TASA) by calling (602)-542-2124, (602)-542-7918 (Español) or via e-mail seniorabuse@azag.gov. For more information on these recent sentencing's contact the Attorney General's Office at (602) 542-5025.