Jun. 6, 2013
A woman who conned an elderly may into paying $22,000 for bogus medical care has repaid the money.
Katy Sterio, 34, who has spent nearly a year in jail, repaid the money Wednesday as part of her plea deal to avoid a prison term of up to 10 years, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported (http://bit.ly/186NnJT).
She remains under investigation and faces an August court appearance to determine whether she owes additional money that the man's family says is missing.
Scott Spallina, chief of the city prosecutor's elder abuse unit, said Sterio and another woman met Stanley Ho, 73, last year in downtown Honolulu. They convinced him that the other woman had stomach cancer and needed cash for surgery.
How gave the women $22,000. He tried to take another $120,000 from his bank, prosecutors said, but bank officials called police.
The second woman was not found.
Sterio in July pleaded guilty to felony theft and attempted theft. The deal called for a sentence of a year in jail and five years of probation if she repaid the $22,000. Her jail term ends this month.
Spallina said Ho's family believes another $12,000 is missing. Defense lawyer Michael Green said Sterio will pay back that money if she owes it.
Sterio has a previous conviction in California for a scam.
According to the Orange County Office of the District Attorney, Sterio and another woman persuaded a 77-year-old man to give them a car. They also used his credit to buy jewelry for $28,000. Police were called when the women told the man that Sterio was in an accident and needed $50,000 for surgery.
Sterio pleaded guilty to four counts of financial elder abuse. She and the accomplice were sentenced to six months in jail and restitution.
"This scam plays out repeatedly on the mainland," Spallina said. "And for us to see this identical scam of befriending (an elderly victim) and giving a sob story to where they have to pay in cash to a fake doctor. We're seeing now these scams start to happen here in Hawaii."
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