2 Arizona caregivers sentenced for stealing money from seniors

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Indrani Gaston (left) and Pamela Williams (Source: Arizona Attorney General's Office) Indrani Gaston (left) and Pamela Williams (Source: Arizona Attorney General's Office)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Two Arizona caregivers have been sentenced for exploiting seniors after admitting to accessing their victims' finances for their own benefit.

On Feb. 26, Indrani Gaston, 69, of Coconino County, was sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of fraudulent schemes and artifices.

According to the Arizona Attorney General's Office, Gaston admitted to stealing more than $363,000 from a 93-year-old man from 2009 to 2013. Later in 2013, she withdrew approximately $96,000 from the victim's line of credit secured by his home and used the money to support her gambling habit.

Casino records show that Gaston, whose only legitimate source of income is Social Security, lost more than $1 million while gambling between 2007 and 2013, according to officials.

The Arizona Attorney General's Office said Gaston became the victim's caretaker after his wife died in 2007. She was a family friend and agreed to assist him by writing checks to pay bills and household expenses. Gaston wrote the checks and the victim signed them. Gaston logged the checks in the account registered as being paid for utilities and household expenses, but the cashed checks showed they were made out to Gaston for much larger amounts and deposited into her personal account.

Gaston was ordered to pay restitution to the victim and Wells Fargo Bank.

On Jan. 27, Pamela Williams, 66, of Cochise County, pleaded guilty to one count of theft and financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult. She was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison and ordered to pay restitution, as well as other fines and fees.

According to the Arizona Attorney General's Office, Williams worked as an in-home caregiver for Brightstar Home Health Care. Her 81-year-old victim could not care for herself due to medical issues and dementia. Over the course of nearly three years, Williams used her power of attorney to embezzle more than $20,000 from the victim's checking and money market accounts. Williams used some of the money to make a down payment on a vehicle and pay off her home mortgage.

"I ran on a pledge to protect the most vulnerable members of our society," said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. "It's a priority of this office to protect those who cannot defend themselves and prosecute those who prey on seniors."