Four Pa. men charged in elder fraud scheme
NORRISTOWN, Pa. - May 22, 2012 (WPVI) -- The Pennsylvania Attorney general has charged four Philadelphia-area men in connection with an elaborate financial fraud scheme.
"These con artists left a string of more than 200 victims from Philadelphia to Erie," said Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly, "and stealing more than 700 thousand dollars."
With those words, Kelly rolled out a fraud case against four Philadelphia-area men.
They were all part of an elaborate scheme, she said, to sell contracts to senior citizens through something called American Comfort Home Services, owned by Ross Robelow of Southampton, Pa., with Bruce Cherry of Northeast Philadelphia his top salesman.
The AG's office said most of those targeted were widowed, living alone, without any family nearby. The average age of the victims: 83.
American Comfort sold contracts in 41 Pennsylvania counties. For $1590 dollars up front, American Comfort promised up to 1,000 hours of non-medical home care when needed. That works out to less than a $1.60 an hour, or about one tenth of what such services normally cost.
"Obviously not a workable business model," said Senior Deputy Attorney General Eric Schoenberg. "That tells us from the get-go they were not going to provide the services they promised.
Investigators say Robelow, Cherry and associate Tom Muldoon of Broomall, Pa., who were arrested yesterday, pocketed most of the money and rarely provided services.
In one case it is alleged a 90-year-old with a broken hip was denied help because her friends had come to her aid.
"They told her according to the fine print on her contract the agreement was void," said Kelly, "because her friends had agreed to take care of her.
Family members at both Cherry's and Robelow's homes refused to talk Tuesday. The two men plus Muldoon each remain in jail, unable to post bail that was set at $1 million cash each.
pennsylvania, fraud, montgomery county, delaware county, northeast philadelphia, local/state, john rawlins
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