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Live-in caretaker charged with financial elder abuse, fraud and forgery

March 11, 2009|Susannah Rosenblatt

The live-in caretaker of an 84-year-old Huntington Beach woman allegedly took out fraudulent loans in her name, bilking the older woman out of about $200,000 and putting the woman's home in danger of foreclosure, authorities said Tuesday.

Cindi Dee Powell, 54, has been charged with financial elder abuse, grand theft, identity theft, vehicle theft, fraud and forgery. She remains in custody.

According to police, Powell moved in with Constance Wakefield about two years ago to help the woman, who uses a wheelchair, around the house and drive her to appointments. Wakefield hired Powell through a classified ad and was not aware that Powell was on probation in another elder abuse case.

Beginning in 2006, police said, Powell took out fraudulent loans on Wakefield's home and opened bank accounts in her name, using the money to buy and sell cars -- including Wakefield's.

Wakefield is now under water on her mortgage and could face foreclosure, police say. Wakefield's daughter lives in South Africa, and she may move there, police said.

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susannah.rosenblatt @latimes.com

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