Nursing assistant charged with stealing over $300,000 from an elderly man

A certified nursing assistant has been charged with allegedly stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from a 94-year-old Chicago man diagnosed with dementia, after fraudulently gaining access to his money and using the victim’s money to remodel her home, give money to her family and purchase a new Mercedes Benz vehicle, according to the office of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

Carmelita Pasamba, 62 is charged with Financial Exploitation of a Senior Citizen (Class 1 Felony).  If convicted she faces up to 15 years in prison.  Pasamba’s husband, Edgardo Pasamba, 63, has also been charged with Financial Exploitation of a Senior Citizen (Class 3 Felony) and her sister, Jocelyn Varga Baker, 47 is charged with Theft (Class 2 Felony) for their role in bilking the victim out of over $300,000.

According to court records, Carmelita Pasamba is a certified nursing assistant (CNA) who worked at St. Joseph Hospital from February 1996 to September 2011.   Carmelita Pasamba came to the United States on a Visitor/Working Visa from the Philippines in 1977.  She is not a United States citizen and has never received an extension for her Visa.  She resides in Chicago with her husband, Edgardo Pasamba.

The victim in this case is a 94-year-old retired civil engineer who worked for the City of Chicago.  The victim owned a condominium in Chicago and had investments consisting of stocks, bonds, money markets and annuities.   In March 2007, he was diagnosed with dementia by his personal physician. From that point forward, the victim lacked the capacity to sign any legal documents or participate in any financial transactions. 

According to prosecutors, in January 2008, the victim was hospitalized at St. Joseph Hospital. Carmelita Pasamba worked on the floor where the victim was and she cared for the victim during his hospitalization.  After his discharge from St. Joseph Hospital, the victim required in-home assistance and Carmelita Pasamba offered to work for him.  On January 28, 2008, she became the victim’s in-home caregiver.  Subsequently, she hired her daughter as well as her sister, Jocelyn Vargas Baker, to assist her in providing 24 hour care for the victim.

In April 2008, just three months after meeting the victim, Carmelita Pasamba asked an attorney affiliated with the Filipino community to draft a Power of Attorney and to change the victim’s estate planning documents which the victim had executed 13 years earlier.

On April 24, 2008, a Power of Attorney for Property (POA), a pour-over will, and a trust document were executed at the attorney’s office. The Power of Attorney gave Carmelita Pasamba complete control over the victim’s assets.  The new will named Edgardo Pasamba as Executor.  The new trust named Carmelita Pasamba as successor trustee upon the victim’s death; and named Carmelita Pasamba, her family and charities affiliated with the attorney in the Filipino Community, as the main beneficiaries of the trust upon the victim’s death. 

According to court records, prosecutors allege that between January 2008 and July 2011, Carmelita 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, just two weeks after she became the victim’s POA, Carmelita 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.  Carmelita Pasamba never paid the “loans” back.

On October 10, 2008, Carmelita Pasamba acted as POA for the sale of the victim’s condominium, located in Chicago, in which the victim was to receive $189,010.70.  Defendant paid herself $50,000 cash out of the proceeds, which she called a “bonus.” During the period of September 1, 2008 to July 6, 2011, Carmelita Pasamba paid herself a salary of $5,500.00 per month for her duties as POA, for a total of $170,000. 

According to prosecutors, between May 2008 and October 2009, Carmelita Pasamba, used the victim’s money,  and “loaned” and gave cash advances and “gifts” totaling $51,000 to her sister, Jocelyn Vargas Baker, which Jocelyn Vargas Baker never paid back.  Jocelyn Vargas Baker was also the victim’s caretaker during this period of time.

Carmelita Pasamba also hired her husband, Edgardo Pasamba, to be the victim’s driver.  In April 2009, while Edgardo Pasamba was the victim’s driver as well as his Executor under the victim’s will, the victim purportedly sold his 2000 Buick motor vehicle to Edgardo Pasamba for $2000.  Edgardo Pasamba never paid the victim for the motor vehicle. 

In total, Carmelita Pasamba spent approximately $350,000 of the victim’s money for her and her family’s benefit during the three and a half years she was the victim’s Power of Attorney.

On April 4, 2013, a Cook County Judge set cash bails for Carmelita Pasamba at $350,000; Jocelyn Vargas Baker at $200,000 and Edgardo Pasamba at $50,000.  Each defendant must pay the entire amount before being released from the Cook County Jail.  The next court date for this case is April 25, 2013 at the George Leighton Criminal Courts Building in Chicago at 11:00 a.m.

The public is reminded that criminal charging documents contain allegations that are not evidence of guilt.  The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the state has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.