Former caregiver is accused of larceny
A former employee of Belmont’s Council on Aging was indicted yesterday on charges that she stole more than $900,000 from an elderly woman with dementia, including obtaining the woman’s signature under false pretenses on her will and mortgage, according to the Middlesex district attorney’s office.
Kathryn Christopher, 64, of Everett was indicted by a Middlesex grand jury on charges of larceny of a person over 60 for an amount over $250 and three counts of obtaining a signature by false pretenses.
According to authorities, in 2003, Christopher worked as the home care coordinator at the Council on Aging. Christopher’s job was to follow up on the woman’s referral, according to the district attorney’s office.
Instead, Christopher took on the role of caring for the elderly woman, which was a violation of the council’s policy, according to the release. The woman died in May 2007.
Also, the Ethics Commission has alleged that she violated provisions of state ethics law. In a report issued last year, the commission alleged that Christopher used money from the unidentified woman to pay her own expenses, including utility, phone, cable television, and car bills and private school and university tuition. The commission reported that Christopher and her family eventually moved into the woman’s house.
The report said Christopher “exploited the trust she had developed with the client.’’
Christopher could not be reached for comment on the indictment, but last year she said through an attorney that the Ethics Commission allegations against her were “misguided.’’
According to the district attorney’s office, the woman paid Christopher using personal checks; authorities say Christopher used the woman’s checking account to make payments to her own creditors, as well as for her family.
In 2004, Christopher allegedly took the woman to two separate attorneys in an attempt to change her will. The two attorneys each observed the woman’s declining mental state and refused to prepare a new will, according to the district attorney.
One of the two attorneys suggested that Christopher take the woman to a doctor to see if she was mentally capable of understanding the changes to her will. Instead, Christopher brought the woman to a third attorney who created a new will, listing Christopher as the beneficiary and giving her power of attorney, the district attorney’s office said. During the signing of the new will, the woman allegedly appeared confused and signed her name incorrectly several times, according to the district attorney.
An arraignment date for Christopher has not been set.
Lisa Kocian can be reached at email@example.com.