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Caregiver allegedly stole $610,000 from 85-year-old woman, used money for dog trainer, other items

February 3, 2011 | 11:55 am

Orange County Prosecutors have charged a caretaker with stealing at least $610,000 from an 85-year-old Laguna Woods woman she was suppose to look after. She allegedly used the ill-gotten gains to pay for concerts, travel and even her own dog whisperer.

Norma Ruth Casini, 51, is due to be arraigned Friday on 34 felony counts of fraudulently using a credit card, 24 felony counts of forgery, one felony count of caretaker theft from an elder stemming from her three years as care provider during which she allegedly drained her victims accounts.

Casini was arrested Wednesday by Orange County Sheriff’s detectives. She could face a maximum of 49 years and eight months in prison because of the large sums involved with sentencing enhancements. According to prosecutors, the victim identified as Nancy W. required 24-hour in-home care in her Laguna Woods home since 2002.

The victim has no family support and hired a caregiver service, LivHOME, to provide for her needs and basic care. LivHOME caregivers are paid by the company and are not to accept money directly from their client. Casini was employed by LivHOME and took care of Nancy W. from November 2006 to March 2009. During that time without the knowledge or permission of the victim, prosecutors alleged about $610,000 was stolen from Nancy W.'s bank accounts and credit cards for personal use.

Authorities allege Casini used the money on a home lease, dog day care and a dog trainer, orthodontic work, laser eye treatment, shopping, concerts, travel and other personal items. In March 2009, Casini was fired after the company determined that she was not in the home during her shift. Subsequently, a review of the victim's bank accounts revealed her savings had been depleted from more than $700,000 in June 2008 to less than $5,000 in April 2009.

With the discovery, the Orange County Public Guardian filed a conservator action to protect the victim and take control of her care. The Orange County Sheriff's Department investigated the case and arrested Casini Wednesday. Prosecutors have filed paperwork that requires that Casini, who is being held on $610,000 bail, must prove the money is from a legal and legitimate source before posting bond.

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-- Richard Winton

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