Md. couple steals more than $1 million from man with dementia

Scam artists convinced a man to sign over his entire will, worth over a million dollars, to them.

MONTGOMERY CO., MD (WUSA9) - A Montgomery County couple could face the next 55 years behind bars after a jury found them guilty Monday of scamming a 99-year-old man out of his life savings. 

Ana Beti Molina and Javier Molina of Silver Spring were found guilty of multiple felony theft charges.

Authorities say Ana Beti started work as a maid for a man named Gustave Shapiro in 2012. They say over four years, she was able to deceive Shapiro into opening joint bank accounts where both she and her husband, Javier, had access to Shapiro's $4 million fortune.

"She used a classic technique of isolation and separation of an elderly gentleman who was starting to degrade because of his dementia." said Ramon Korionoff, spokesperson for the Montgomery County State's Attorney Office.

Ultimately, the couple was able to take $1.2 million of Shapiro’s money. Korionoff said they were able to use the money to finance their daughter’s college education, buy a SUV and even a house.

“And, they claimed in the trial, in the defense, that somehow, buying an SUV was in the best interest of Mr. Shapiro,” Korionoff said.

Banking officials eventually noticed irregularities with Shapiro’s finances. That observation ultimately led to an investigation of the Molinas.

The Shapiro’s attorney told WUSA9 that the family is happy the Molinas were caught.

“They're very relieved at the outcome today," said Attorney Heather Mehigan. "It’s been a very difficult few years for the family.”

Shapiro passed away last year. However, the state’s attorney’s office was able to act quick enough to save close to 2 million dollars worth of Shapiro's savings to give to his actual heirs.

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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