A home health aide from Central Islip who worked for a Queens couple for about five years has been indicted in the theft of more than $170,000 of their life savings over a nine-month period last year, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced Friday.
“The victims in this case opened up their home to the defendant, only to have her repay their trust by allegedly taking advantage of them to unjustly enrich herself,” Brown said. “She now faces a lengthy period of time behind bars for her alleged betrayal.”
Chaniesa Simmons, 42, has been charged in a 41-count indictment with grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, falsifying business records, criminal possession of a forged instrument and endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person, according to the district attorney.
The couple — a 92-year-old man and his 88-year-old wife who suffers from dementia — required round-the-clock care to assist them with their daily living and other services, such as trips to the doctor, and the husband hired Simmons as a personal aide, Brown explained.
A news release from Brown’s office said that in December 2016, Merrill Lynch notified the husband’s son, who has power of attorney over his father’s financial affairs, of several checks written from his father’s cash management account that appeared to be forged. The checks were allegedly payable to Simmons and had been negotiated through her checking account, the release added.
A review of the father’s financial accounts from last year allegedly revealed forged checks totaling more than $170,000 from two separate bank accounts and payable to Simmons.
Simmons, who faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted, was ordered held on $100,000 bond or $100,000 cash bail at her arraignment earlier this week, the release said. She is due back in court June 21.