12/1/15 - Daughter creates GoFundMe page, steals $40k from her 92 year-old mother
Media, Pa – Today Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan announced that a Brookhaven woman is facing theft charges for making $40,000 in unauthorized withdrawals from her mother’s bank account after she assumed Power of Attorney. She also created a GoFundMe page to fraudulently raise money, claiming her mother was ill when in fact she was in good health.
Carol Mongrandi, 53, of the 300 block of Patton Avenue in Brookhaven, is charged with theft by unlawful taking or disposition, receiving stolen property, forgery, and theft by deception, all felonies of the third degree. The arrest comes at the conclusion of an investigation conducted by Det. Anthony Ruggieri the Delaware County Criminal Investigation Division (CID) Senior Exploitation Unit.
An investigation was launched by Det. Ruggieri after he was notified by Denise Gallagher, the Ombudsman Coordinator for Delaware County about the financial exploitation of a senior. Gallagher had received a call from the administrator of Lima Estates regarding long-time resident Marjorie Montgomery, 92, who has been a resident at Lima Estates for 35 years. According to the administrator, Montgomery always paid her bills on time but this all changed when Montgomery’s daughter, Carol Mongrandi, took over as her Power of Attorney (POA). Despite numerous letters sent to Mongrandi, her mother’s account at Lima Estates was in default of approximately $32, 098.16.
Through the course of the investigation, Det. Ruggieri learned that Mongrandi had been taking advantage of her mother in her capacity as Power of Attorney by opening bank accounts and credit cards in Montgomery’s name, as well as making ATM withdrawals from her accounts. Mongrandi opened a credit card for Sears and Capital One, which she used for her daily living expenses. She also signed her mother’s name to a car loan, all without her knowledge or authorization.
The investigation also revealed that Mongrandi created a GoFundMe page to seek donations from the public to pay her mother’s bills. On the GoFundMe page, she claimed that her mother was experiencing a decline in her mental and physical health after suffering two strokes, when she in fact at that time, she was in good health. Mongrandi pocketed $1,200 that was raised through the page for her own use.
As a result of a search warrant executed on all financial accounts in Marjorie Montgomery’s name, it was determined that her daughter, Carol Mongrandi made unauthorized withdrawals totaling $40,070.25. These withdrawals were done without the permission of Marjorie Montgomery and not in accordance with her reasonable expectations or in her best interest as expressed in the Durable Power of Attorney Agreement.
“I to want commend Det. Ruggieri and the other members of our Senior Exploitation Unit who work diligently to protect our elderly residents, sadly sometimes even from their own families,” said District Attorney Jack Whelan. “It is far too often we see crimes against seniors committed by loved ones who feel entitled in their positions of authority. In this particular case, Carol Mongrandi stole from her very own mother, putting her previously sound financial accounts in default by thousands of dollars.”
Carol Mongrandi surrendered at the Criminal Investigation Unit and was released on her own recognizance under $50,000 bail following arraignment. Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 22. Assistant District Attorney Eric Parham, Chief of the Senior Exploitation Unit, will be prosecuting the case.
If you suspect a senior is being abused, neglected or exploited, call the District Attorney’s Senior Exploitation Unit at 610-891-5249.