WHILE POLICE were testifying Thursday about the squalid conditions in which they found 89-year-old Iris Galarza last December, Galarza sat silently in the courtroom gallery, unable to hear a word.
Galarza, who is deaf and has dementia, allegedly was victimized by the theft of $30,000 of her Social Security money by Nancy Gonzalez, her nephew's ex-girlfriend, who was supposed to use the money to pay Galarza's bills.
For 32 years, Gonzalez was paid $60,000 annually as a secretary to City Council presidents. She was allowed to retire in July after her arrest on theft charges.
Gonzalez, as Galarza's Social Security representative payee since 2005, had access to the account into which Galarza's Social Security checks were deposited. Instead of using the money to pay Galarza's bills, as she was supposed to, Gonzalez used it at restaurants, department stores, a casino and other locations, prosecutors said at her preliminary hearing Thursday in Municipal Court.