By Elizabeth Hur
BENSALEM, Pa. (CBS) – A Bucks County woman stands accused of stealing $300,000 from her elderly neighbor.
It’s a crime police call heartless.
“It’s a shame, the victim is 67 and she’s not well,” Sgt. Andrew Aninsman with the Bensalem Police Department said.
Neighbors say it’s unthinkable.
According to neighbors in Bensalem’s Harvest Run West Development, they know the suspect, 65-year-old Virginia Marquardt as Jinny and the victim as Alice.
The two were next door neighbors until Alice was admitted into a nursing home in 2007 and that’s when Marquardt, police say, was entrusted to take care of the victim’s finances.
According to police, Marquardt obtained Power of Attorney for the victim in July 2007. That designation allowed Marquardt to act in a fiduciary capacity for the victim and to control her assets and disburse them as needed. Marquardt took control of the victim’s bank account in August 2007. Shortly after she changed the IRA beneficiary designation to make herself a 50 percent beneficiary and signed it using the Power Of Attorney. In the spring of 2008 she also had a new will drawn up for Alice which named her as a 50 percent beneficiary.
Aninsman said, “You put your trust in somebody to make sure those bills are being paid and well those bills weren’t being paid and it raised red flags with the nursing home and they wanted to know where their money was and they realized there might be more to this.”
In fact, investigators allege Marquardt stole in excess of $300,000 in illegal payments between August 2007 and March 2012 made for the benefit of Marquardt and her husband Edward Marquardt.
Police say after concluding a large scale forensic audit, it was found that the monies stolen from the victim since 2007 were used for business and personal purposes including purchases of luxury watches, vacations to Las Vegas Hilton Head, South Carolina and Mexico, Pa State Sales taxes, credit card payments for both the defendant and Edward Marquardt, trips to Atlantic City Taj Mahal and Grantville, PA Hollywood Casino, tickets to numerous sporting events, comedy hypnotist, charges at Lake Placid, NY for entertainment; payments to a swimming pool company and a hot tub company; purchases at sporting goods companies, numerous golf outings at a large number of clubs in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and other states.
Bob Rachwal, a neighbor said, “I’m totally shocked. I don’t think it’s true.”
Another neighbor who wished to remain anonymous added, “Obviously it must be factual or you wouldn’t be talking about it but that’s just an absolute shock.”
Aninsman concluded, “I don’t know how you’d be able to look at yourself in the mirror or get on a plane and go to Las Vegas or go down the shore and know that you’re spending someone’s money who probably saved it for their whole life. It is heart wrenching.”
Marquardt was arrested on Thursday and charged with Theft by Deception, Theft by failing to make required disposition of funds and related offenses.
She was arraigned and bail was set at $300, 000. She later posted the 10 percent and was released.
When we stopped by Marquardt’s home late Thursday, no one was home to comment.