ROCKVILLE, Md. - A Silver Spring couple was convicted Monday of stealing more than $1 million from an elderly man with dementia.
Javier and Ana “Beti” Molina bought a house, a car, sent their daughter to college and gambled away nearly $200,000 over several years.
The couple also convinced 99-year-old Gustave Shapiro to change his will so they would be included and his own son would not, and took video of Shapiro amending the document.
Shapiro met Ana Molina right after his wife of 71 years died. Molina started out as his housekeeper, but soon she and her husband moved in on Shapiro’s fortune.
“It was over $4 million in his various accounts, $1.2 million of which Ana Molina and Javier Molina, her husband, stole,” said Ramon Korionoff, spokesperson for the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Shapiro’s son, who did not want to named, told FOX 5 that his father lived through the Great Depression and went on to work as an electronic engineer at the National Bureau of Standards.
“He saw how terrible it was for the vast majority of people who lived through that time,” his son said.
He said Shapiro was always frugal, lived his life on a strict budget and was committed to providing for him and his mother. He said his dad was especially vulnerable after his wife passed away.
Shapiro’s son thanked the State’s Attorney’s Office for their hard work on the case, and said he hoped the story could help prevent this from happening to another family.
It was a tip from two bank employees about suspicious transactions from Shapiro’s account that initially launched the investigation and authorities were able to prevent more money from being stolen or gambled away.
“This is important and serves as a cautionary tale for anyone that has parents or grandparents that may need assisted-living or home health care workers or even cleaning crews coming into their home,” Korionoff said. “Be careful whom you trust.”
The Molinas were found guilty on all charges and are each facing a maximum of 55 years in prison. They will be sentenced in January.