By Brad Segall
NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — Four Philadelphia area men are under arrest, accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from senior citizens across the state by selling them bogus contracts for home care services.READ MORE: Brotherly Love: Wheels Of Change Bringing Help To Families In Their Own Neighborhoods
State prosecutors say there are more than two hundred victims in this case, stretching from the Philadelphia area to Erie.
The defendants are identified as Bruce Cherry and Robert Lerner of Philadelphia; Thomas Muldoon of Broomall, Pa.; and Ross Rabelow of Southampton, Pa. They are accused of stealing more than $700,000. The charges include theft, insurance fraud, and deceptive business practices.
Pennsylvania attorney general Linda Kelly says the four men would knock on doors and convince people — many of them elderly, widowed women — to buy these services at low hourly prices that came out to be about $1.59 per hour.
She points out that this is far below what in-home services normally cost.READ MORE: New Jersey Native, Who Lost Daughter In Parkland Shooting, Fighting To Protect School Children Across Nation
“This was a disturbing and reprehensible scheme designed to extract as much money as possible from unwitting seniors who believed they were protecting themselves from costly future home care services,” Kelly said today.
In many cases, she says, the victims were convinced to cancel their legitimate contracts for home services that were covered by insurance.
Kelly says when the victims tried to use the fraudulently contracted services, requests for assistance were delayed or ignored.
And she says there may be more victims — people who bought contracts but haven’t yet tried to use the services.
Read the KYW Regional Affairs Council series, “Senior Scams.”MORE NEWS: Gunman Kills 19 Children, 2 Teachers In Texas School Rampage