CHICAGO (FAXX/jGLi) – The three Filipino caregivers of an elderly Chicago senior citizen pleaded not guilty during their arraignment Thursday (May 9) before Illinois Associate Judge Joseph Michael Claps of the Cook County Circuit Court at 26th and California in Chicago’s southwest side.
Wearing blue jump suits, Carmelita Pasamba and her younger sister, Jocelyn Vargas Baker and Pasamba’s husband Edgardo Pasamba dressed in a brown prison uniform pleaded not guilty when apprised by Judge Claps of the criminal charges of financial exploitation against them. They were accused of embezzling Marshall F. Davies of more than $350,000 of his retirement money.
Mrs. Pasamba and Jocelyn Baker were represented by Attorney Purav Bhatt while Edgardo Pasamba was assisted by Attorney Donald Rendler-Kaplan during the arraignment.
The defendants are due back in court on June 19 at 10 a.m. for status hearing for the case that is headed to a jury trial.
Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez charged Mrs. Pasamba, 62, a certified nursing assistant (CNA) with Class 1 felony of financial exploitation of a senior citizen; Jocelyn Vargas Baker, 46, also a CNA, with Class 2 felony offense theft of the amount from $10,000 to $100,000 range; and Edgardo Pasamba, 63, of Class 3 felony of financial exploitation of a senior citizen. They are all unemployed.
They are all locked up in the Cook County jail. Carmelita Pasamba is detained on a $350,000 cash bail; her sister, Jocelyn Baker, was slapped with $200,000 cash bail; while Edgardo Pasamba is in detention in lieu of a $50,000 cash bail.
CULLED FROM PROBATE RECORDS
Information against them were culled from the proceedings of the citation to recover assets filed against them by Cook County Public Guardian Robert F. Harris pending against them before Cook County Circuit Court Judge Lynne Kawamoto. The case is up for an oral argument on June 4.
Other defendants in this probate case are Carmelita’s daughter, Donabel Copon and her son, Dennis Pasamba, Atty. Alfonso Bascos, Cindy Rubio and St. Joseph Hospital, who are accused of conspiring in siphoning off more than $500,000 from Mr. Davies, a 94-year-old retired engineer from the City of Chicago, who is residing at a retirement home in Chicago’s north side.
Carmelita crossed path with Davies in January 2008 when he was confined at St. Joseph Hospital along Lakeshore Drive in Chicago, where she worked as a CNA. Mr. Davies was hospitalized for hip injury. Carmelita took care of Davies and they became friends. When Davies checked out of the hospital, the hospital recommended that he be placed under a 24-hour home health care. But Mr. Davies opted to be under the care of Carmelita, who sought the help of her sister, Jocelyn, and her daughter, Donabel Copon, to give him 24-hour assistance.
In March of 2008, Pasamba and her husband Edgardo drove Davies, a lifelong bachelor, to the office of Filipino American Attorney Alfonso Bascos at the Rizal Center at 1332 West Irving Park Road in Chicago’s north side. Pasamba asked Bascos to make her a Power of Attorney (POA) so she could be co-signer to Davies checking and other accounts. She also asked Bascos to re-draw a will and trust that gave her control over Davies’ assets.
HUSBAND EXECUTOR OF THE WILL
Pasamba made her husband Executor of the will and Bascos was made “lawyer of executor Edgardo Pasamba in the will.”
A year earlier in 2007, Davies’ personal physician had already diagnosed Davies with dementia.
Assistant State Prosecutors Sandra Stavropoulos and Mary Louise Ryan Norwell said between Jan. 2008 and July 2011, Pasamba spent more than a quarter million dollars of the victim’s money for herself and her family, giving loans to herself and family members, which were never paid back, purchasing new furniture, rehabbing her home, buying new electronics and a new Mercedes-Benz motor vehicle.
On May 8, 2008, two weeks after she became the victim’s Power of Attorney (POA), Pasamba wrote a check to herself for $30,000 from the victim’s bank account. A month later, on June 16, 2008, she gave herself another $25,000. She called these transactions “loans” and used the money to remodel her kitchen and basement.
On Oct. 10, 2008, Carmelita acted as POA for the sale of the victim’s condominium, located in Chicago, which the victim was to receive $189,010.70. Pasamba paid herself $50,000 cash out of the proceeds, which she called “bonus.”
Between May 13, 2008 and Oct. 9, 2009, Pasamba, using the victim’s money, “loaned” and gave cash advances and “gifts” totaling $51,000 to her sister, Baker, which Baker never paid back. Baker was also victim’s caretaker during this period of time.
In total, Pasamba spent $350,000 of the victim’s money for her and her family’s benefits during the three and a half years she was the victim’s POA.Cook County Guardian Atty. James Burton said Carmelita faces 15 years in jail plus fine and restitution.
Photo of Carmelita Pasamba. (mugshots.com)