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Ringleader sentenced in scheme to steal disabled man's life savings

Ringleader sentenced in scheme to steal disabled man's life savings

Victim: 'I didn’t see it like a victory, but more like a tragedy.'
Ringleader sentenced in scheme to steal disabled man's life savings
Jayquan Drumgold, 30, of Brooklyn.
Photographer: Provided

Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the charge to which Zenobia Bedell pleaded guilty. It also incorrectly stated how Darius Macon was related to Jayquan Drumgold.

SCHENECTADY — A Brooklyn man was sentenced to 12.5 to 25 years in prison for conspiring to steal more than $50,000 from a handicapped man under his cousin's care.

Jayquan Drumgold, 30, was sentenced by Judge Kathleen Hogan on Thursday after being convicted in July on five counts of third-degree grand larceny, along with one count each of third-degree attempted grand larceny and fourth-degree conspiracy. 

Zenobia Bedell, and her boyfriend, Darius Macon, both 23, pleaded guilty in June to charges in the case. Bedell pleaded guilty to fourth-degree attempted criminal facilitation, and Macon to third-degree grand larceny.

Macon is also Drumgold's cousin.

Bedell was the caretaker for David Whalen, 56, of Glenville. Whalen, an attorney, was paralyzed in a skiing accident during his freshman year of college and has required assistance ever since.

According to Whalen, a fraud alert from Trustco Bank kicked off the investigation, which revealed Drumgold had recruited around 20 others in a conspiracy to defraud disabled and elderly victims.

“People that are disabled are vulnerable," Whalen said Thursday. “The only reason I was involved in [coming forward] at all was to protect anyone from having their life savings stolen.” 

Daniel Bulger prosecuted the case on behalf of the Schenectady County District Attorney's Office and could not be reached for comment. 

In a statement, District Attorney Robert Carney praised Whalen, Bulger and local banks for bringing the case together. 

“Mr. Drumgold, whom we viewed as the mastermind of this scheme, took advantage of a vulnerable victim who was more than his match in sticking up for himself and bringing this to our attention," Carney said. "We thank the victim for his efforts in assisting us in achieving a just result and appropriate punishment for this criminal conspiracy. I would also commend ADA Bulger for his hard work and the several financial institutions who aided him, including M&T Bank, SEFCU, and Trustco, whose cooperation was vital in this case.”

Bedell was responsible for Whalen's care in 2016. Whalen fired her after discovering the scheme.

Whalen said he trusted Bedell, unaware that she had a criminal history that was later revealed in court, and added that it was a "tragedy" that anyone would feel the need to do such a thing. 

“I feel terribly bad about the tragedy, and it’s tragic what they did and what they’re going to have to endure," Whalen said. “I didn’t see it like a victory, but more like a tragedy."

Reach Daily Gazette reporter Jake Lahut at jlahut@dailygazette.net or @JakeLahut on Twitter. 

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