(Unsplash)

Caretaker jailed, must pay back money after stealing $260K from elderly B.C. couple

Antonette Dizon, now 50, had been hired to provide extra care for Henry and Helen Abfalter

A woman must pay back $105,000 after stealing $260,000 from an elderly Coquitlam couple, a B.C. provincial court judged ruled Thursday.

Antonette Dizon, now 50, told the court “she was tight on money” and wanted to “provide a good life for her children” when she stole $260,000 over 15 months from a couple she had been hired to care for.

An agency hired Dizon to provide extra care to Henry and Helen Abfalter, both 86 at the time, in September 2014 at their retirement home.

Dizon helped the couple with daily activities, court documents said, and “developed a close relationship with both of them.”

She assisted the Abfalters with their banking and learned the PIN from the husband’s debit card.

Just one month after the husband was hospitalized in December 2014, Dizon took his debit card from his wallet and on Jan. 14, 2015, she began taking money from the Abfalters’ chequing and saving accounts.

Court documents say she made frequent withdrawals, sometimes daily, and usually took the maximum limit of $1,000.

She continued to care for the couple until September 2015, when the husband died and Dizon went to work full time for a cleaning business.

However, she remained close to the Abfalter family, with her daughter singing at the husband’s funeral and visiting the widow for Christmas and Mother’s Day.

Dizon also continued to steal money from the Abfalters.

Helen Abfalter’s daughter found out about the theft in April 2016, after the bank told her the balance in the account was $200,000, down significantly from the $490,000 just over a year prior.

The daughter was told withdrawals had been made at ATMs all throughout the Lower Mainland

The theft was reported to the police who began surveilling the bank branches where the debit card was being used.

Dizon made her last withdrawal in April 2016 when the ATM did not return the debit card.

After police arrested her, Dizon admitted to stealing the $260,000.

She said she had taken the money to “provide her children with a good life.” Police learned Dizon had bought a new car for her daughter, a piano, a floor polisher for her cleaning business, a bedroom furniture set for her daughter, tuition for her daughter, a trip to Disneyland and the cleaning business that she now owns.

Dizon had also used the money to pay for rent and food, paid off her Visa debt and sent some funds to family members in the Philippines.

At the time of her arrest, she had almost no money remaining.

In an victim impact statement, Helen Abfalter’s daughter said Dizon’s crime had overshadowed the last few months of her mother’s life. Abfalter passed away nine month’s after Dizon’s arrest.

When Helen had first learned of the crime, she initially refused to believe Dizon was responsible, calling her former caretaker “the kindest person.”

“She could not understand how to reconcile what Ms. Dizon projected – a good mother, church going and conscientious – with someone who could do something so dishonest and cruel,” the court documents said.

The Abfalters managed to recoup some of the money by seizing assets and through settlements with the bank and hiring agency that had brought in Dizon. She must pay back the remaining $105,000.

After pleading guilty, Dizon was sentenced to 12 months in custody and a probationary period of 18 months. During her probation, she may not possess identification or credit or debit cards except those belonging to family, not work or volunteer with the elderly and not have any contact with Helen Abfalter immediate family.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Month-long water quality advisory still in effect for Rupert residents

The City of Prince Rupert recommends those with weakened immune systems boil water prior to use

Jennifer Rice North Coast MLA seeks re-election

Northwest politicians announce intent on elections

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Heart of the City – Jason Scherr

Try and Try again - Prince Rupert Seamen Rugby Club

No COVID-19 public exposures in the North Health Region at this time

Northern Health Authority issued a statement on Sept. 17

Quirky Canadian comedy ‘Schitt’s Creek’ takes Emmys by storm with comedy sweep

Toronto-raised Daniel Levy and Ottawa-born Annie Murphy both got supporting actor nods

B.C.’s Chase Claypool catches first NFL touchdown pass

Abbotsford grad establishes new record for longest scrimmage TD by a Canadian

B.C. has highest number of active COVID-19 cases per capita, federal data shows

B.C. currently has 1,803 active cases after weeks of COVID-19 spikes in the province

181 days gone: Family continues to look for man last seen in RCMP custody 6 months ago

Brandon Sakebow’s last known location was leaving Mission RCMP cell, police say; family has doubts

B.C. unveils new cannabis sales programs to help small, Indigenous growers

Government did not say how it will define small producers, but says nurseries will be included in the policy

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Most Read