Montco caregiver pleads guilty to stealing assets totaling $370,000

Posted: October 05, 2012

Attorneys sparred outside a Montgomery County courtroom Thursday over whether a woman who had just pleaded guilty to stealing the assets of a paralyzed stroke patient in her care was really remorseful.

"She has expressed to me significant remorse over the entire situation," defense counsel Gregory L. Nester said as reporters listened.

"Yes, remorse that she got caught," scoffed Deputy District Attorney Steven J. Latzer.

Remorseful or not, Janet M. Gitney, 58, of Lansdale, entered an open plea to three counts of misappropriating $370,000 in cash and property from Eugene Waldspurger, 58, formerly of Hatfield. An open plea means that the prosecution and defense have no prior agreement on the sentence, which Judge Joseph A. Smyth is to pronounce in three months.

Last year, Gitney was charged by Hatfield Township police with theft, fraud, forgery, and misusing her position as trustee for Waldspurger.

In 2007, she moved the disabled man into her home to manage his health and finances, and began stealing from him in 2009, according to court records.

After Waldspurger was hospitalized in June 2011, Gitney took possession of his house, fixed it up with his retirement savings, and sold it. The home was valued at $222,334.

She also drained his bank accounts, then admitted Waldspurger to a nursing home as a pauper.

The scheme crumbled when a cousin contacted the District Attorney's Office alleging the theft of the home. On Sept. 26, 2011, charges were filed against Gitney.

Just before police moved in to arrest her, she fled to the Philippines, but investigators tracked her through travel documents, and she knew she was wanted as a fugitive.

She was arrested Nov. 22 as she stepped off a plane in New York after a flight from the islands. She has been in Montgomery County Prison on $7.5 million bail since her return.

Gitney pleaded guilty to three felonies: theft by unlawful taking in the house transaction; failure to make distribution to Waldspurger from the bank accounts she managed for him; and conspiracy to commit fraud with her husband, Anthony. His case on theft charges is a separate legal matter.

Sentencing guidelines call for nine to 16 months in prison on each count. Latzer said he would ask that the terms run consecutively.

Gitney also pleaded no contest to recklessly endangering another person - her father, whom she abandoned when she fled to the Philippines.


Contact Bonnie L. Cook

at 610-313-8232 or bcook@phillynews.com.

Read her "MontCo Memo" blog on philly.com.

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