A mother and daughter tag-team of cruel Bronx scammers ripped off $840,000 from a 92-year-old woman, selling off her house and emptying her bank accounts across a four-year stretch, prosecutors alleged Thursday.
Maria Garcia, 75, of Seffner, Fla., and Mara Garcia, 39, of Doral, Fla., knew the victim through their practice of Santeria and began looting her finances in 2017, the Bronx District Attorney said. The nonagenarian victim was duped into signing multiple powers of attorney and other documents to give the pair control of her finances.
The callous crooks spent some of their ill-gotten cash for personal expenses, with the daughter paying off an $18,000 credit card debt and taking a European vacation, prosecutors said. The mother allegedly paid off a $102,000 refinance of her home — and neither paid any taxes on the $760,000 sale of the Soundview home, prosecutors said.
“The defendants are accused of preying on (the victim) by having her sign documents giving them power of attorney, enabling them to access her accounts and finances,” said Bronx D.A. Darcel Clark.
“The victim lost her home as well as money used to support her extended family,” she continued. “If you take advantage of a vulnerable, elderly person in the Bronx, we will hold you accountable.”
Both suspects faced a variety of charges, including grand larceny, forgery and criminal tax fraud, authorities said. Maria Garcia was additionally charged with offering a false statement for filing. According to officials, the money was stolen between June 2017 and February 2021.
Both mother and daughter were placed on supervised release after their arraignments at a Bronx Supreme Court appearance last Friday. They’re due back in court July 28.