Police say a home health aide stole more than a half-million dollars from one of her clients over the past five years, leaving the 82-year-old, legally blind woman penniless.
Investigator Timothy M. Brown of the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office said Michele L. Rose, 49, of 214 Jones Road #82, Saratoga Springs, wrote checks for thousands of dollars to herself, transferred money out of the victim’s bank accounts and used credit cards stolen from her, beginning in 2006. Brown said she used the money to pay her own bills as well as those of family members.
All told, Brown said, investigators believe Rose stole $513,479 and left her client with thousands of dollars in delinquent bills, including credit cards and even a disconnect notice from National Grid.
“She has no money left,” Brown said. “I’m not saying she’s going to be homeless, but it’s going to be a very difficult time for her.”
Brown said Rose had access to the victim’s bank accounts and credit cards because her duties included assisting with the woman’s bills and maintaining her home. The victim was unaware of any irregularities in her finances, Brown explained, because she was also dependent on Rose to read her mail and other correspondence.
The situation was uncovered when one of the victim’s five children, all of whom live outside the area, tried to get money from one of her bank accounts to pay a medical bill. Rose has been charged with second-degree grand larceny, a felony.
Rose was arraigned Wednesday in Wilton Town Court and released over the objection of Saratoga County District Attorney James A. Murphy III. Murphy said he asked for bail to be set at $15,000 cash or $30,000 bond “since the defendant is facing up to 15 years in prison and may flee the jurisdiction after allegedly stealing so much money.”
Instead, Murphy said, Town Justice John Wood chose to release Rose on her own recognizance because she had other clients to care for, though Murphy argued she was a threat to any person with disabilities and should be barred from seeing any clients. Rose is scheduled to return to court Nov. 22.
Brown said the victim has been referred to the state Office of Victim Services for assistance with, among other things, the outstanding bills run up in her name.
Brown said Rose was also assisting two other clients, but neither appeared to have been victimized. However, Brown said he did not know how many others Rose had worked with in the past or if any of them are missing money.
Brown asked anyone who has had Rose care for them or had been victimized by her to call the sheriff’s office at 885-6761.