One Year in Jail for Ex-caregiver Who Stole $260K From Elderly Canadian Employers

A former caregiver in Canada was sentenced to one year in jail after she stole $260,000 from a couple over a period of 16 months, a report from CBC.ca said.

Antonette Dizon, 50, pleaded guilty earlier this year to a single count of fraud, addmitting that she regularly withdrew $1,000 in cash each day from the couple’s bank accounts.

Provincial Court Judge Robin McQuillan sentenced Dizon to 12 months in jail, to be followed by 18 months of probation. The judge said Dizon is remorseful and has suffered serious consequences for stealing from the Coquitlam, B.C., couple.

“She had unlimited opportunities to reflect on what she was doing and to correct or at least stop her conduct. She did not do so,” McQuillan wrote.

Dizon began serving the couple, Henry and Helen Abfalter, in September 2014, both 86 at the time and living in a retirement home. Both suffered deteriorating health and needed help with their daily activities, including managing their finances such as trips to the bank. At some point during her trips to the bank with Mr. Abfalter, Dizon memorized his PIN number.

After Henry Abfalter fell ill and admitted to hospital a few months later, Dizon slipped his debit card out of his wallet, and began making withdrawals from the couple’s bank accounts.

Court records revealed that Dizon often made daily withdrawals,usually to the maximum limit of $1,000.

She continued to care for the couple, up until Mr. Abfalter’s death in September 2015. By that time the couple had become so close to their employee that Dizon’s daughter sang at the elderly man’s funeral.

Even after Dizon stopped working for the Abfalters and started a cleaning business, she maintained the relationship with Mrs. Abfalter and her family, and visited on Christmas and Mother’s Day.

However, the defendant also continued to steal from them.

The crime was finally uncovered in April 2016, when the couple’s daughter discovered that their bank account balance had shrunk from $490,000 to about $200,000. She saw the regular withdrawals from ATM machines and called the police who then arrested Dizon.

She told police investigators that she’d taken the money to provide for her children — she paid off her debt, bought a cleaning business, took the family on a trip to Disneyland and paid for tuition, a car and a bedroom furniture set for her daughter.

When Helen Abfalter learned that her caregiver’s theft activities, she initially refused to believe it, calling Dizon “the kindest person.”

“She was devastated when she had to acknowledge Ms. Dizon as the perpetrator,” McQuillan wrote in his decision. Helen Abfalter died nine months after the crime was discovered.

“The last months of her life were overshadowed by this event and the efforts to attempt to recoup some of the lost funds,” McQuillan said, referring to a victim impact statement prepared by Abfalter’s daughter.

“She could not understand how to reconcile what Ms. Dizon projected — a good mother, church going and conscientious — with someone who could do something so dishonest and cruel.”

Dizon had almost no money left by the time she was arrested. Her assets were seized to recoup the funds, but $105,000 is still outstanding, according to the decision.

As part of her sentencing, the judge issued a restitution order to pay the family back the remaining money.