Caregiver admits stealing $220,000
The money belonged to an elderly patient who died in Mexico
A caregiver who initially claimed an elderly employer gave her $220,000 now admits to stealing the money.
Cora Dela Rosa, formerly Cora Malinis, averted a second trial yesterday by pleading no contest* to first-degree theft before Circuit Judge Michael Wilson. She admitted she obtained the money without permission.
Prosecutors say that between April 1, 2004, and March 21, 2005, Dela Rosa cashed a $220,264 cashier's check that Marjorie Carr had obtained after closing her Hawaii bank account.
At a hearing yesterday, Dela Rosa, 43, admitted that she deposited the cashier's check at her credit union. It was not until Carr, 82, died in Mexico a month later that Dela Rosa began withdrawing the money and using it to purchase certificates of deposit, paying off credit card and loan debts, going on trips and purchasing a new car, said Deputy Prosecutor paul Mow.*
At trial in February, Dela Rosa, who had cared for Carr at the Hawaii Kai Retirement Home for seven months before Carr moved to Mexico, testified she did not know why the elderly woman gave her the check. But she kept it anyway, she said, after Carr told her twice to keep it, not to worry and not to tell anyone.
Carr had already paid Dela Rosa for her services before she left for Mexico, and Dela Rosa had not done anything out of the ordinary that would have warranted her receiving a large sum of money, prosecutors argued. Carr's will did not name Dela Rosa as a beneficiary.
And in the months before she moved to Mexico, Carr was asking people for money and trying to raise money by selling off furniture, so it did not make sense that she would give her money away, prosecutors said.
The defense had maintained that Carr had given Dela Rosa the check because she provided the care that Carr's daughters, who lived outside Hawaii, were not willing to provide.
Prosecutors said Dela Rosa gave people various explanations for why Carr gave her the money, ranging from a debt payment to a gift.
The court declared a mistrial in the earlier case because the jury was deadlocked.
Mow said the prosecution will ask that Dela Rosa be sentenced to a prison term at a hearing scheduled for Oct. 31. First-degree theft is a Class B felony punishable by a 10-year term.
Friday, August 10, 2007
» Caregiver Cora Dela Rosa, formerly Cora Malinis, pleaded no contest to first-degree theft for stealing a $220,264 cashier's check from her elderly employer and using the money for her personal benefit. A Page A14 article yesterday incorrectly reported she pleaded guilty to the charge. Also, Deputy Prosecutor Paul Mow's first name was misspelled in the article.