Aide Stole Big Bucks From Elderly Forest Hills Woman: D.A.

Jackie Pokuwaah, home health aide, embezzled $800,000 from employer.

A home health aide was convicted of stealing nearly a million dollars from her elderly Forest Hills charge, the Queens District Attorney said Wednesday.

Jackie Pokuwaah, 53, of the Bronx, was convicted of five counts of grand larceny and possession of stolen property. 

According to District Attorney Richard Brown, Pokuwaah worked for Forest Hills resident Renee Fuld, an 86-year-old woman who is confined to a wheelchair. As an employee, she began managing Fuld's finances, and started writing herself checks to pay for Fuld's personal items like groceries and laundry. What Pokuwaah was not telling her employer was that the checks were cashed for inordinately large amounts of money. One such check, for $1,800, was noted as being for "ice cream."

The checks and Fuld's money regularly disappeared over the course of four years from 2007 to 2011.

“Home health aides are welcomed into the homes of the most vulnerable in our society. It is essential that they not use their position of trust to victimize those in

their care as was done in this case," Brown said. "The defendant used her influence over the victim to systematically steal her life savings. She must receive a lengthy prison sentence both as punishment and to serve as a warning to those who would target the weak or the elderly.”

Brown said that Fuld's bank began to grow suspicious of the large checks being written on a regular basis. 

Pokuwaah will face sentencing on May 22. 

Ovez Japanwalla May 05, 2012 at 01:45 PM
Great coverage of an ongoing chronic problem, even though not as severe as in the present case, it should serve as a reminder that our elderly need to be monitored. We cannot "bask in our comfort zones" feeling that just because someone is there, everything is okay. Given the fact that many of our area are the sick and delibitated elderly, this prosecution is one that will serve to give notice that they are not to be preyed on either financially nor emotionally or deprived of care of their medical needs. I have utililized these aide services and well, it would shock one to know what goes on. The way to combat is through "unannounced inspections."
Ovez Japanwalla May 05, 2012 at 01:52 PM
Prior comment based on real experiences of: 1. $ Theft of $ 3,500 wedding necklace while I was present in other room, distracted by vacuuming noise unaware of the rummaging. 2. Serving 5 day old food. 3. Failure to call 911 and medical attention after my mother's fall , because it was close to end of shift. Family did not know until 2 days later on a routine visit. Aide called in sick that day. Much more. See something , say something. I have used Department of Aging, department of Health and subsequent referral to Adult Protective Services.
Robin Amy B July 31, 2012 at 12:15 PM
thank you for this exposure..there are many elderly people - friends, relatives, and neighbors who deserve our respect and care...If you see something, say something, and spread the word, so that manipulative people are not hired to care for our loved ones


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