By Kristopher Anderson/News-Sentinel Staff Writer
Lodi police arrested a 48-year-old woman on Thursday on suspicion of stealing more than $20,000 over the course of at least a year from an elderly woman, authorities said.
Lisa Serpico was taken into custody at her home on the 3300 block of Spiess Road in Acampo around 8:30 a.m. She will be arraigned on a felony charge of stealing more than $400 from an elderly or dependent adult in San Joaquin County Superior Court on Monday.
Lodi police detectives have been investigating the theft since June, after the victim’s daughter reported the incident to police, Lodi Police Sgt. Eric Versteeg said.
According to Versteeg, Serpico befriended a 90-year-old woman and offered her rides to the grocery store, doctor appointments and other locations. However, Serpico was never hired as a caregiver.
“She was helping with the day-to-day business,” Versteeg said.
For nearly a year, Lodi Police Lt. David Griffin said, Serpico used multiple tactics to withdraw funds from the victim’s account, including using ATM machines after obtaining the victim’s debit card to purchase groceries.
The victim’s daughter heard that someone had been assisting her mother on a regular basis. She became suspicious about Serpico’s relationship with her mother and began checking bank accounts and check statements, Versteeg said.
In August, nearly three weeks before her arrest, Serpico went with her attorney to the Lodi Police Department for a voluntary interview.
In Lodi, theft from elderly residents is a frequently reported crime.
“I don’t want to say we have a huge problem, but does happen on a regular basis,” Versteeg said.
Lodi police receive numerous complaints each year about caregivers or acquaintances taking advantage of elders with scams, theft or financial abuse.
It comes in several disguises, Versteeg said.
He cited a case in Lodi several years ago where police said individuals were purposely performing inexpensive and substandard work on an elderly person’s home. When the project was complete, they demanded excessive amounts of money for their work, officers said. The workers in that case eventually defrauded the elderly person out of thousands of dollars, Versteeg said.
Versteeg said there are ways for elderly people to avoid scams and fraud.
“Family and caregivers need to be cognizant of what’s going on,” he said. “They need to take an active role in that person’s care.”
SOURCE: The Lodi News
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