An elderly Boston woman, whose name has not been released, and her beloved tabby named Puddy Cat, are out $450,000 in cash and property after making the wrong kind of friends.
WBZ-TV reports 63 year old Randi Berkowitz and 58 year old Patricia DiGiacomo are charged with more than 60 counts of embezzlement, larceny and intimidation after they cleaned the 74-year-old woman and her cat completely out.
“By the time the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office began their investigation, the victim had $2.16 in her Fidelity account.”
Prosecutors say the two women befriended their victim and took care of her cat just to get access to the victim’s financial assets. (Via Suffolk County District Attorney's Office)
According to the DA’s case statement, the victim, who has been diagnosed with dementia, gave Berkowitz her power of attorney and named her the administrator of her will. (Via Suffolk County District Attorney's Office)
The Boston Globe reports the two women learned the victim had created a “Puddy Cat Trust” in her will, setting money aside for lifetime care for the cat and donations to animal welfare agencies.
According to CNN, the women used that money to buy things like a $27,000 Mini Cooper, an iPad, exercise equipment, specialty kitchen items, and paying for private lawyers.
District Attorney Daniel F. Conley called the scam, "one of the most startling cases of elder exploitation we've seen in years." (Via CNN)
This isn’t the first time the two have had a run-in with the law. They’ve reportedly worked as a team before, masking their identities and taking money from others. (Via Suffolk County District Attorney's Office)
The pair still remain free but they cannot go to the nursing home where the victim now lives and they have to stay away from the cat. They are due back in court May 15.