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Ex-home health aide gets prison for stealing $300G from elderly woman

Tuesday, December 4, 2012
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— A former home health care aide will serve between three and nine years in state prison for stealing more than $300,000 from an elderly woman in her care.

Michele L. Rose, 50, of 214 Jones Road, Lot 82 in Birch Meadows Estates in Wilton, was sentenced Tuesday in Saratoga County Court. She pleaded guilty in October to second-degree grand larceny.

She stole $328,974.35 over the course of five years from Mary Farchione, now 82, according to the Saratoga County District Attorney’s Office. It was her life savings.

Rose also was sentenced to pay restitution in that amount. She has already given Farchione about $108,000 from an annuity account.

Rose was hired by the Farchione family to care for Farchione’s husband, Constantino, when he became ill in 2003, according to a statement from the family. After he died in 2005, the family retained Rose on a part-time basis to care for Mary so that she could continue to live in her own home.

That’s when Rose, who was entrusted with doing Farchione’s banking and opening her mail, started stealing from the elderly woman.

“[Rose] just got more and more brazen,” Saratoga County District Attorney James Murphy III said in October when Rose pleaded guilty. “She would go to the bank two or three times a week and cash checks made out to herself.”

Farchione is in poor health and is now legally blind, and the theft has robbed her of more than just money, her daughter said in a statement read before the sentencing.

“What she really stole is my mother’s dignity and her right to live the remainder of her life in the home she loved,” the daughter wrote. Assistant District Attorney Ann Sullivan read the daughter’s statement aloud during the court appearance. The daughter’s name was not disclosed.

The funds were a combination of money the couple saved for retirement over a lifetime of working and money Constantino Farchione’s parents earned in New York City sweatshops and left to him, the daughter wrote.

Constantino, an immigrant like his parents, became a supervisor with an electrical utility and also worked a second job to support his family, she wrote.

The family discovered the thefts after Mary Farchione took a fall in September 2011 and was in the hospital for three months. When the family went to pay her medical bills, there was no money left.

“We had to apply for Medicaid and put my mother into a nursing home. She is severely depressed and cannot understand how Michele, her companion and caretaker since 2003, would do this to her,” her daughter said.

“I call her every day and every day she asks me the same question: ‘When can I come home?’ ”

Rose’s defense attorney, Opal Hinds, said Rose has a gambling habit and is “very remorseful and contrite” over her actions.

“This is someone who never had even a parking ticket or a speeding ticket,” Hinds said. “It’s just very sad.”

After her sentencing, Rose was taken to the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Westchester County.

 
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