Wichita woman sentenced in elderly financial abuse case

Local

After a plea deal, Amy Gerdes has been sentenced to pay nearly $100,000 in restitution after stealing money from an elderly man while working as his housekeeper. 

The judge ordered Gerdes to pay back $97,000 that she stole from a 76-year-old Derby man over a two year period.

According to court documents, the elderly man who hired Gerdes said he made her his durable power of attorney so she could help with going to the bank and other appointments.

He said Gerdes made nearly 50 unauthorized charges to his account. 
“We have had cases in the past where an elderly person forms a business relationship with someone as a housekeeper or landscaper and then they form a friendship,” said Robert Short, Sedgwick County Chief Assistant District Attorney. “Eventually, sometimes you see that person getting involved with their estate plan, access to their accounts and having access to their money.”

Short said cases like these are on the rise. 

“We find out about those when bills are not getting paid and the nursing home is not getting paid,” Short said. “We go back, we do an audit and we find the missing money.”

The Sedgwick County District Attorney’s office and the attorney general said they’re constantly working to strengthen laws related to the mistreatment of the elderly. Short said that educating the public can help before a crime ever occurs. 

“Keep an eye on your neighbors,” Short said. “Ask them who’s coming over, ask who they’re talking to, maybe see how they’re doing on their finances and if their bills are getting paid.”

Short advises to never give your personal information out like social security and bank account numbers and to always use referrals for services. 

The judge ordered Gerdes to pay a minimum monthly payment to the victim. If she does not comply, she will face jailtime.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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