Cops: Woman fleeced $300G from neighbor, took lavish trips

Virginia Marquardt is accused of using power of attorney to scam $300,000 from her neighbor that were supposed to go toward nursing home payments.
Virginia Marquardt is accused of using power of attorney to scam $300,000 from her neighbor that were supposed to go toward nursing home payments.
Posted: June 09, 2012

A 65-year-old Bensalem, Bucks County, woman was arrested Thursday and charged with scamming $300,000 in nursing home payments from her ailing former neighbor to spend on lavish trips, sporting events and even a "comedy hypnotist" show.

Bensalem Police and Bucks County Detectives say they charged Virginia Marquardt, of the 1800 block of Badger Road, with theft by deception, and theft by failing to make payments related to her 67-year-old neighbor's care.

Marquardt was released after posting 10 percent of $300,000 bail.

Investigators say Marquardt used her friendship with the woman to acquire power of attorney as the victim was placed in a nursing home in 2007. Under the power of attorney, Marquardt was designated to control the victim's money and disburse it to the nursing home and related care as needed.

Police have only identified the victim as, ‘Alice.'

However, investigators say Marquardt made herself a beneficiary of Alice's IRA, and had a new will drawn up making herself a 50 percent beneficiary.

Then, detectives say Marquardt was only making partial payments for Alice's care from her Social Security checks. Further, pension payments that were supposed to go to the nursing home were instead deposited into the account controlled by Marquardt.

Eventually, all payments to the nursing home ceased, and Marquardt claimed Alice had no money left, officials said.

Suspicions arose, police say, and an audit showed, "in excess of $300,000 in illegal payments" were made from Alice's account between August 2007 and March 2012.

Authorities say Marquardt and her husband, Edward, used the money to buy watches, to take vacations to Las Vegas, Hilton Head, Mexico, Atlantic City, to attend, "numerous sporting events" and even see a comedy hypnotist show at Lake Placid, NY.

The couple also made payments to a hot tub company, bought items at sporting good stores in the area, and took numerous golf outings in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Marquardt could not be reached by phone this morning. Her attorney, Richard R. Fink, of Langhorne also could not be reached because he was in court in a separate case.

A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for June 13.

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