California couple Andrew and Elizabeth Berkes figured Andrew’s parents were in good hands with the part-time caregiver they hired until Andrew decided to take a look at his parents’ finances two years ago in order to plan for the future.
What they saw left them shocked and eventually led to caregiver Heidi Miller pleading guilty to federal charges that resulted in a 33-month prison sentence after she admitted to taking more than $360,000 of the Berkes’ money.
The couple is now speaking out during Alzheimer’s Awareness Month about how they were financially scammed in order to help other families avoid what New York elder law attorney Ron Fatoullah called “an epidemic” on TODAY Tuesday.
“We’re really grateful for the work that the FBI did, that the U.S. Attorney did on our behalf,” Elizabeth Berkes told Maria Shriver on TODAY. “They can’t give our parents back their health. They can’t give them back this house. They can’t repair the damage that has been done to our family as we try to put the pieces back together. And so I would say that the best thing that people can do is prevent this from happening.”
Andrew’s parents, Leslie and Cheryl, began showing signs of cognitive decline when they were both 70 in 2016, leading Andrew and Elizabeth to seek extra care for them. Leslie has severe dementia, while Cheryl has been diagnosed…