A 49-year-old caregiver is facing theft charges for allegedly defrauding her 90-year-old client of more than $150,000.
The caregiver, Ma Marquez, is charged with one felony count of theft from an elder by a caretaker and grand theft of personal property for stealing more than $150,000 from the client, Gloria Burke, between June 3, 2011, and April 20, according to a Los Angeles County Superior Court criminal complaint.
A court hearing on Tuesday for Marquez, who already pleaded not guilty to the charges, was moved to Jan. 23.
Marquez's attorney, Nathan Hoffman, said his client had power of attorney to care for Burke. He added that Burke's family accountant had also given her authority to pay expenses.
Marquez was arrested Dec. 6 on a warrant stemming from the charges filed against her for the alleged fraud and embezzlement, according to the complaint.
Glendale police began investigating Marquez after they received a call in April that Burke may be a victim of financial elder abuse.
Marquez allegedly worked for a home nursing care facility that provided services to elderly patients, according to police.
Burke paid Marquez, whom she called "Cherry," monthly for her services, including personal healthcare, grocery shopping and other errands, police said.
Marquez overcharged Burke and often used signed and endorsed checks to buy personal items, Glendale Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said.
In one month, Lorenz said Marquez spent $4,000 on groceries alone.
Burke's home care was estimated to cost $16,000 per month, police said. But Marquez allegedly told police the nursing facility was paying her $25 an hour to care for Burke.
When police arrived at Burke's home, they saw three people sitting at a table, and Burke was lying in bed and holding a checkbook and pen, according to reports.
At least two of the three people reportedly told police that they were being paid $10 an hour to assist Marquez with Burke's care, while another said he was being paid $2,000 per month for helping with errands and had been working for her for four years.
Marquez allegedly told police Burke's attorney and accountant handled Burke's finances.
Once Burke's family got involved in her care, the embezzlement ceased, Lorenz said.
Copyright 2012 - Glendale News-Press, Calif.