Retired city engineer Marshall Davies was nearing 90 when a longtime nursing assistant at St. Joseph Hospital befriended him in 2007 and offered to be his round-the-clock caregiver.
Instead, Cook County prosecutors allege, Carmelita Pasamba obtained power of attorney over Davies’ estate and bilked him out of more than $350,000, using the money to remodel her home, enrich family members and buy a new Mercedes.
Davies had been diagnosed with dementia almost a year before Pasamba began to take advantage of him, prosecutors said.
Pasamba, 62, who worked for 15 years as a nursing assistant at St. Joseph, was charged with financial exploitation of a senior citizen, a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison, prosecutors said Friday. She was held on a $350,000 cash bail.
Also charged were Pasamba’s sister, Jocelyn Vargas Baker, 47, and husband, Edgardo Pasamba, 63, both of whom benefited from her actions, prosecutors said.
The criminal case stems from a 2011 lawsuit filed by Cook County Public Guardian Robert Harris accusing Pasamba of using her position to take advantage of the ailing Davies.
Pasamba, a native of the Philippines, met Davies in January 2008 when he was hospitalized for a hip injury and she cared for him. When he was discharged later that month, Davies needed at-home care and Pasamba offered to work for him, prosecutors said. She also hired her daughter and her sister to help provide 24-hour assistance.
Three months after she began his at-home care, Pasamba hired an attorney affiliated with the Filipino community to draft a power-of-attorney order, a will and a trust document that gave her control over Davies’ assets. She made her husband the executor of the will and named herself as trustee, prosecutors said. Her family and charities affiliated with her attorney were listed as the main beneficiaries of the trust, according to the charges.
Within two months of gaining power of attorney, Pasamba wrote herself checks from the estate totaling $55,000, prosecutors charged.
Pasamba eventually sold Davies’ Lincoln Park condo for $189,000 but kept $50,000 as a “bonus” for herself, prosecutors said. Over the course of 31/2 years, she also paid herself $170,000 in salary for Davies’ care, prosecutors said.
Alphonso Bascos, the lawyer who drafted the power-of-attorney documents, told the Tribune on Friday that Davies seemed lucid on the day he signed the papers, answering yes whenever he was asked directly if he wanted Pasamba to have power over his affairs.
“I asked Mr. Davies if he read the document, if he understood it, and he said, ‘Yes,'” said Bascos, who has not been charged with any wrongdoing. “I did what he asked me to do.”
Bascos said that it was Pasamba’s idea to name several of his preferred Filipino charities as beneficiaries of the estate. He said he heard her explain the idea to Davies and get his approval.
Bascos said he was “surprised and mad” when he learned about the alleged thefts more than two years later.
“But everything I did was aboveboard,” he said. “… I followed the instructions of a client, nothing else.”
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Nurse’s Assistant Charged With Taking $350K From Client’s Estate