CLEARFIELD – A Gallitzin woman accused of stealing from an elderly couple’s account pleaded guilty to theft Tuesday during plea and sentencing court.
Crystal Ann Hagen, 53, was sentenced for 10 felony counts of theft by unlawful taking to 90 days to two years less one day in jail and five years consecutive probation.
She has already paid $10,000 in restitution but still owes $65,000. As part of her probation, she will pay $500 per month toward that balance.
Prior to sentencing, her attorney, Terry Despoy, stated that she had a zero prior record score. She showed very “poor judgment,” he said, and noted that some of the money was a gift, but this is being disputed with the victim’s family. Hagen said she was sorry and apologized “from the bottom of my heart.”
According to the affidavit of probable cause, a trooper spoke with a Protective Services Care Manager from the Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging that said the victims were being neglected and living in filth at their Chest Township home.
Hagen and her husband had power of attorney and were to be taking care of the elderly couple. The couple was moved to a personal care home in Ebensburg.
The care manager explained that when she looked into what was going on with the couple during the last year, she discovered Hagen had written out numerous checks, totaling $177,489.39 from the couple’s account.
When she asked her about this, Hagen told the manager that the female victim allowed her to write checks out for specific items.
When the manager spoke with her husband, he said his wife was taking care of all the financial information for the couple when this occurred. He said he and Crystal Hagen had power of attorney for the victims beginning in January of 2014.
The trooper spoke with an administrator at the care home and asked to interview the couple. This administrator advised them that the male victim’s memory is impaired and he can only make day-to-day decisions. His long-term memory is gone to the point that he doesn’t know what year it is, they said. The female victim’s condition was even worse, the administrator reported.
In an interview with police, Hagen explained that the female victim asked them to be their power of attorney. She claimed that she wrote out the checks and the female victim signed them. When asked if anything she purchased was for the couple, she replied no.
She stated that the woman told her not to tell anyone, including her husband that she gave her the money. She said that the male victim gave her money to remodel the bathroom.
She also admitted she bought a camp with the money the female victim gave her. Hagen stated that she “was not hiding anything.”