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92-Year-Old Dementia Patient Scammed Nearly $50K by Caretaker and 4 Friends

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We all hope to live a long, healthy life. Marilyn Ryser of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, must have done something right. At the age of 92, she’s still kicking.

Unfortunately, there are those who prey on the elderly, and Ryser was no exception. She suffered from dementia, a condition that can make daily tasks difficult.

Her family hired a care-giver to help out. Staying in her home was important to Ryser but her son, Elliot, knew that she could not do it alone.



A woman named Andrea Gooseberry was sent to the home as an aide, but she did much more than help out with dirty dishes and other small tasks around the house.

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The damage that she caused could have been devastating.

When Elliot sat down to do his mother’s taxes, he noticed that things just didn’t add up. He noticed ATM transactions that sparked his worries.

“About 47 transactions while using her ATM card and my mother doesn’t know how to use an ATM machine,” Elliot said.

After more searching, Elliot determined that close to $25,000 had been stolen from his mother’s account by Gooseberry. That wouldn’t be the end of the deception.

Gooseberry also stole Ryser’s identity along with the money and debit card. “She’s very trustworthy, probably too trustworthy,” Elliot said of his mother. But not being able to trust the person who is there to help is terrible.

The situation became worse as Elliot discovered more bad news. As he dug deeper into his mother’s expenses, he noticed that several family friends had also taken advantage of her.

Four friends in total had stolen from Ryser. Including Gooseberry’s take, a total of $50,000 had disappeared! “These people stole four months from her,” Elliot said.

“You bring these people into your home, you think they can be trusted, but they really can’t.”  The money in Ryser’s account were funds used for her care.

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Gooseberry pleaded guilty on identity theft charges and a non-profit attorney from Elder Rights Project for Legal Action has taken Ryser’s case.

But it’s so sad to think that our elderly community could be so unprotected.

Home Care Assistance, the company that placed Goosberry with Ryser, said that they do thorough background checks on their employees.

Unfortunately, this employee must have slipped though the cracks. Still, Ryser’s story should be a warning to keep an eye on our loved ones and their expenses.

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