Agents form the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Insurance Fraud Section and Elder Abuse unit have filed criminal charges against for local men who allegedly operated a financial fraud scam targeting hundreds of senior citizens in the state.
Attorney General Linda Kelly identified the defendants as Bruce Howard Cherry, 52, of Philadelphia; Ross M. Rabelow, 52, of Southampton, Bucks County; Thomas J. Muldoon, 57, of Broomall, Delaware County; and Robert P. Lerner, 56, of Philadelphia.
Kelly said the four defendants are accused of conspiring to operate a financial fraud scheme specifically aimed at elderly victims who were deceived into spending thousands of dollars for “home care” or “home security” services that would supposedly assist seniors with their future care.
“This was a disturbing and despicable scheme designed to extract as much money as possible from unwitting seniors who believed they were protecting themselves against costly future home-care expenses,” Kelly said. “These con artists left a string of more than 200 victims, stretching from Philadelphia to Erie, and stole more than $700,000 through the sale of contracts for bogus home care services or stolen insurance premiums.”
Kelly said that investigators have identified at least 218 victims located in 41 counties. Many were widowed; living alone and without any nearby family members and the average age of the victims is estimated at 83 years old.
The investigation, known as “Operation False Comfort,” involved the presentation of extensive evidence and testimony to a statewide investigating grand jury, which recommended the criminal charges that were announced today.
According to the grand jury, the scheme revolved around the sale of service contracts for businesses that supposedly provided specialty services for seniors.
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Written by John Yedinak