TPD: Caregiver allegedly stole $800,000 from victim - Tucson News Now

TPD: Caregiver allegedly stole $800,000 from victim

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Shirley Gonzales (Source: TPD) Shirley Gonzales (Source: TPD)
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

A woman accused of stealing from an elderly woman she was hired to care for appeared before a judge for the first time on Thursday night.

Three years after Tucson police started the investigation, 59-year old Shirley Gonzales was charged with fraudulent schemes, misuse of power of attorney, and theft, all felony crimes, said Sgt. Rick Radinksy who works in the Vulnerable Adult Abuse unit of the Tucson Police Department.

Radinksy said other caregivers hired by the 70-year-old victim noticed something did not seem right, and reported the crime.

Police said the elderly victim of the crime died a few months ago, but the Attorney General's office could still prosecute the crime and try it posthumously, which meant, after her death.

Tucson residents Sharon Sutherland and Danny Wash who lived in elderly housing units in midtown were sad to hear about the crime.

"It is sad. Very sad. Elderly people are being abused all the time," said Sutherland.

Police said Gonzales was hired as a caregiver for the elderly victim who did not have family in Tucson.  The wheelchair bound victim was dependent on her caregiver 24 hours a day, seven days week.

"She was among the most vulnerable of people we have in our society," said Sgt. Radinsky.

Police said Gonzales used the victim's checkbook and wrote herself some fat checks.  She is accused of stealing more than $800,000 from the victim, according to Sgt. Radinsky.

"Throw the book at her. Give her some years.  She stole that much, they could get some of it back, donate it to Pima Council On Aging," said Danny Wash, a Tucson resident upset to hear about the crime.

Sgt. Radinsky said crimes like this one can take some time to solve because they have to follow a paper trail and wait for financial institutions to release documents, but the department's Vulnerable Adult Abuse Unit was dedicated to solving elder abuse crimes.

"We have predators out there that seize an opportunity to prey upon the most vulnerable population out there."

Radinsky urged residents to check the background and references of adults they hired to care for elderly residents carefully.

Gonzales's bond has been set at $40,000 cash.

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