MOOSIC — An 86-year-old man spoke out today about the three people accused of stealing about $30,000 from him. They were given control of his finances after his health started to decline.
The 86-year-old man didn’t want to share his name, but he told Newswatch 16 quite a bit about the roller coaster of a year he’s had. He started losing his vision and assigned a power of attorney to take care of his finances.
He found out months later that the three people closest to him may have been stealing from him.
James and Christine Gerrity of Avoca were long-time family friends of the 86 year old. And since he had no more family of his own, the man said he picked James Gerrity as his power attorney when his health started to decline. The couple started looking over the man’s finances.
Then, they started running out of money to pay the bills at his home in Moosic and the victim knew something wasn’t right.
Lackawanna County detectives used surveillance video at the local bank as evidence that James and Christine Gerrity were drawing money out of the man’s account and using it for themselves. They are accused of stealing more than $22,000.
“It’s a moral thing, it’s not just money. Probably all the guy had, probably leaving it to his kids or something. It`s not right,” said one of the victim’s neighbors, Melissa Christian.
Lackawanna County detectives also charged a third person with theft. John Converse, a friend of Gerrity’s who started living with the man last year.
The victim’s new roommate, John Converse, took him to see an attorney so he could bring charges against James and Christine Gerrity. But it wasn’t too much longer after that he realized that all three may have been stealing from him.
According to court papers, Converse was using the same methods, writing out checks and swiping the man’s debit card at the ATM. Police said Converse stole another $8,000 from the man.
The victim told Newswatch 16 he has been wiped out financially.
“I feel for him, I feel for the guy, thinking that he`s not going to have any trust for anybody. But there are people out there worth trusting,” added neighbor Emily Votano.
James and Christine Gerrity, along with John Converse are all charged with theft. The Gerritys gave up their right to a preliminary hearing on those charges this week. Converse is due in court later this month.