Page 2 of 2   <      

Man pleads guilty in swindle of elderly Montgomery County woman

James Brian Gendimenico
James Brian Gendimenico (Courtesy Of Montgomery County Police Department - Courtesy Of Montgomery County Police Department)
  Enlarge Photo    

Gendimenico's attorney, Samantha Sandler, declined to comment after Monday's hearing and instructed Gendimenico not to respond to questions.

In two interviews in her living room, the victim, now 91, said she regretted befriending him.

"I trusted him. He was so nice," she said Sunday.

She spoke on condition of anonymity, saying she was deeply embarrassed and fears for her safety because she is frail and lives alone. She has trouble remembering dates, needs a walker to shuffle around her small home and said her life has been ruined.

Her comments were confirmed by prosecutors and McCarthy, who was appointed to recover money on her behalf.

She said she was relieved the case didn't go to trial because she didn't want to speak in open court. "The money is gone. Why put myself through any more?" she said.

One of the few trips she makes every week is to Ruffles of London, a salon near her home. It was there that beauticians started noticing her showing up with Gendimenico about three years ago.

They said they got concerned when she told them that Gendimenico was advising her to take out a loan against her house.

"She's so naive and innocent, and things weren't adding up," beautician Tina Becker said. "She's just a very sweet lady who didn't have anyone to care for her."

The beauticians decided to call the county authorities, which led to an investigation.

Gendimenico was indicted July 30 on one count of exploitation of a vulnerable adult and one count of a theft scheme over $500, the maximum charge at the time, according to prosecutors.

When Gendimenico, who then lived in Rockville, was asked his occupation as part of an initial court appearance questionnaire, he stated: "Take care of elderly people."

Under a plea deal, prosecutors have agreed to drop the exploitation count.

In court Monday, prosecutor Robert Hill said checks on the couple's accounts started being written to Gendimenico in early 2007. In April 2007, 18 checks were made payable to Gendimenico totaling $10,372. The comment section on the checks included "Home Depot, house, transportation, new blinds, fishing trip, licenses, Brian's car, wheelchair, medical supplies, hairdresser, house, cash and so on," Hill said.

Prosecutors say Gendimenico pocketed much of the money.


<       2

© 2010 The Washington Post Company