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Queens Chronicle

Home aide convicted in $791K fraud, theft

Health attendant faces 15 years

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Posted: Thursday, May 10, 2012 12:00 pm

A home health aide has been convicted of stealing nearly $800,000 from an elderly disabled patient from Forest Hills.

Jackie Pokuwaah, 53, of the Bronx, was convicted on May 1 of five counts of second-degree grand larceny and five counts of second-degree criminal possession of stolen property following a week-long trial, according to the office of Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

She is being held in lieu of $25,000 bail and faces up to 15 years in prison when she is sentenced by Supreme Court Justice John Latella on May 22.

“Home health aides are welcomed into the homes of the most vulnerable in our society,” Brown said in the statement.” It is essential that they not use their position of trust to victimize those in their care as was done here. The defendant used her influence over the victim to systematically steal her life savings.”

Brown said Pokuwaah worked as an attendant for an 86-year-old woman who is confined to a wheelchair, has limited use of her hands and suffers from cognitive impairment.

Pokuwaah was paid approximately $81,000 per year, and during the course of her employment began to take charge of the victim’s daily financial affairs.

The investigation began after the fraud departments at JP Morgan Chase and TD Bank began to question the legitimacy of large checks being written from the victim’s account.

Brown’s office said a review uncovered more than $791,000 in checks, excluding Pokuwaah’s salary, made payable to her between January 2007 and March 2011.

One check for $1,700 contained a note indicating it was for ice cream. Others were routinely written for “exorbitant amounts” for items such as laundry and groceries.

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