(STL.News) – Moureen Masika, 31, was found guilty on Monday, February 10, 2020, of one count of Financial Exploitation of an Elderly Person or Vulnerable Adult and three counts of Second-Degree Theft after a jury trial. The incidents were part of a fraud scheme perpetrated by Masika, a home health aide, on her patient, an 88-year-old man with dementia, announced U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Shea. This trial is the first involving the charge of Financial Exploitation of an Elderly Person or Vulnerable Adult in D.C. since the crime was passed into law in 2016. Sentencing is scheduled for March 9, 2020.
According to the government’s evidence, over the course of five months in 2018, Masika made 49 trips to CVS during which she obtained over $3,000 in cash using the victim’s debit card. To maximize the cash obtained, Masika would make multiple transactions back-to-back and request cash back at each transaction. Her fraud came to an abrupt end when the victim’s family confronted her.
In announcing the verdict, U.S. Attorney Shea commended the work of the Metropolitan Police Department, including the Financial and Cyber Crimes Unit, which investigated the case. He also acknowledged the work of those who handled the case at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Mika, who is detailed from the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia to handle financial crime cases involving elderly victims; Assistant U.S. Attorneys Beth Kelley and Stephanie Miller; and paralegals Chad Byron and Antoinette Sakamsa.
This prosecution is part of the Office’s wider efforts to combat crimes against seniors. In 2018, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia simultaneously launched initiatives to address the abuse and exploitation of older adults. The Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation Initiative at the U.S. Attorney’s Office expanded its response to criminal and civil violations targeting older adults. The initiative has enabled the U.S. Attorney’s Office to develop and coordinate further its prosecution of these cases and enhance its overall support of older or vulnerable victims. The team consists of experienced prosecutors and victim advocates from across the Office, to include the Superior Court, Criminal, and Civil Divisions, as well as the Victim Witness Assistance Unit. This prosecution marks the first time that the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Office of the Attorney General have together prosecuted a case of this kind, and this collaboration is continuing.