Home health aide boyfriend stole $129,000 from 92-year-old Westport customer
A home health aide hired to care for a 92-year-old Westport woman is accused of taking advantage of her. Lisbeth Aldiva and her boyfriend Hiram Mojica, both of Hartford, are facing a long list of charges related to the theft of $129,180.75 from the elderly victim’s brokerage accounts.
Aldiva began working for the victim in April as one of two home health aides with First Place Home Care LLC, according to her arrest warrant. Two months later Aldiva was replaced and the police became involved. They said that in June, the victim’s daughter reported that $200 in cash had been taken from her mother’s purse and another $50 taken from a birthday card her mother had given to the other assistance. The daughter also reported strange charges on her mother’s Costco Visa card and Jet Blue Mastercard which totaled almost $800. Then in September, the investigation took a turn.
“At this point, the family informed us that the scheme and theft had become much more than we were initially told, and was over $100,000,” Lt. Eric said. Woods at News 12.
Woods said the suspects somehow obtained the passwords and information needed to access the victims’ three Wells Fargo brokerage accounts, then made teletransfers to the victim’s Wells Fargo current account, for which they had stolen ATM card. According to their arrest warrants, there were 50 teletransfers and 91 ATM withdrawals from June 1 to September 1. 9 when the victim’s daughter discovered that her mother’s bank card was missing. Wood said police received security footage for the takedowns and the lead detective immediately recognized Aldiva.
Aldiva was seen performing 72 trades while Mojica 14 was seen performing 14 trades, according to their warrants. Five transactions had no screenshots.
A search of court records shows that Aldiva has multiple misdemeanor convictions from 2013 to 2022, including third-degree assault, second-degree threats, second-degree breach of the peace, third-degree criminal mischief, and violations of probation.
News 12 called First Place Home Care LLC and asked to speak to the manager. The woman who answered the phone said she knew Aldiva was under investigation but did not know she had been arrested. When asked if she was aware of Aldiva’s criminal history, she said no, but maintained that the company had done a background check.
Aldiva and Mojica are charged with first degree larceny and conspiracy to commit first degree larceny, first degree forgery and conspiracy to commit first degree forgery, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit telephone fraud, illegal use of a credit card and conspiracy to illegally use a credit card, criminal identity theft and conspiracy to commit criminal identity theft, fraudulent use of ATM and conspiracy to commit fraudulent use of an ATM and first degree identity theft and conspiracy to commit first degree identity theft.
Mojica faces additional drug charges after police say that while he was booked they discovered he was in possession of suspected heroin/fentanyl and a pipe commonly used for smoking crack cocaine .
Both suspects were arraigned in Stamford Superior Court, where Aldiva’s bail was set at $200,000 and Mohica’s at $210,000. The two have another case pending in Waterbury Superior Court.
Anna Doroghazi, associate state director for advocacy and outreach at AARP Connecticut, said it’s important for people to do their due diligence with home care providers. She recommended reaching out to friends or family members who have been in the situation for recommendations.
“It’s important that people understand the type of worker you’re hiring to come into your home. In Connecticut, we have a pretty wide range of job titles for home care workers. We have stay-at-home companions, home health aides, we have personal All of these job titles have slightly different duties and are regulated by different state agencies,” Doroghazi told News 12. “It’s important for people to understand how a worker has been vetted or pre-checked. Different job titles go through different background check processes.”
Doroghazi also said lawmakers have an important role to play in keeping older people safe at home.
“They must adequately regulate all of the different types of home care providers, and they must provide state agencies with adequate resources to provide oversight of the workers and agencies that provide these health care providers,” said she explained. “We are serving more people than ever before in community settings, and we don’t have the same level of advocacy, protection and oversight of people receiving care in home communities as we do for people who receive care in nursing homes.
Doroghazi said one in 10 older people experience some kind of abuse. “We know this is incredibly underreported and what’s important for older people to know is that they shouldn’t be embarrassed.”
There is a hotline to report suspected cases of elder abuse, neglect or exploitation: 1-888-385-4225.