BLACK CREEK TOWNSHIP -- A son has been charged with swindling nearly $20,000 from his elderly father in Luzerne County.
Michael Kuchinsky, 29, is charged with theft, forgery, failure to make payments, and unauthorized use of a vehicle.
State police say Kuchinsky was stealing from his 75-year-old father, a war veteran who is in a nursing facility.
"When you have unfortunately a perpetrator who helps themselves to an older adult's money, assets, finances or property and there is a law being broken, it's always good to see an arrest,” said Brian McAdarra of Luzerne County’s Area Agency on Aging.
The investigation was started by the Luzerne County Agency on Aging and the state police.
Troopers say Michael Kuchinsky was living his in father's home in the private Eagle Rock development in Black Creek Township and using his father's vehicle without permission.
Investigators say from December 2013, through November 2015, Michael Kuchinsky had power of attorney for his father and was supposed to pay his father's bills. Instead, they say he stole $19,900 from his father's checking accounts and failed to pay property taxes on the home for three years.
According to state police, Michael Kuchinsky no longer has power of attorney for his father and his father is in the process of having him evicted from his home.
"It's estimated that in the state of Pennsylvania, only about one in 20 cases of elder abuse is actually reported, so I think it happens more frequently than is reported, but what we see is definitely an increase in financial exploitation cases in Luzerne County and in the state overall, it's actually becoming one of the number one forms of abuse,” said McAdarra.
Kuchinsky is free on $20,000 unsecured bail.