South Thomaston caretaker admits to taking advantage of elderly patient

Posted Oct. 12, 2012, at 1:46 p.m.
Last modified Oct. 12, 2012, at 3:28 p.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — A 60-year-old South Thomaston woman was sentenced Thursday in Rockland District Court to 90 days in jail for not filing or paying state income taxes for four years.

The Maine attorney general’s office also stated in a news release issued Friday that Gertrude Black, a personal care assistant, had admitted to taking financial advantage of an elderly patient who suffered from partial dementia.

“In addition to the salary Black earned, she admitted to taking financial advantage of her patient. Black had her patient pay for many of Black’s personal expenses such as utility, veterinary, auto insurance, cable, and cellular telephone bills, along with auto loan payments,” the news release stated.

Black was charged with four counts both of failure to pay state income tax as well as four counts of failure to file income tax forms from 2007 through 2010.

Knox County District Court Judge Susan Sparaco sentenced Black to 364 days, with all but 90 days suspended, and one year of administrative release. Black will have to pay $7,086 in restitution for the taxes due. She will be required to pay $25 per week for the back taxes.

“This case is an unfortunate example of how the elderly can be exploited for the selfish purposes of their caretakers. We must all be vigilant in protecting the most vulnerable among us and my office will take strong action against those who take advantage of those in their care,” said Attorney General William Schneider in the news release. “All citizens must pay their fair share of income tax and we will continue to prosecute those persons who fail to obey the tax laws.”

This case was investigated by the Criminal Investigations Unit of Maine Revenue Services and the Healthcare Crimes Unit of the Office of the Attorney General. Assistant Attorney General Gregg Bernstein prosecuted the case.

Black blamed her conduct on her use of alcohol, the attorney general’s Office reported. Black has a history of noncompliance with Maine’s income tax laws, according to the attorney general’s office.

Attorney General spokeswoman Martha Demeritt said the state felt the tax prosecution was the best way to handle this case, noting that generally in failure to pay tax cases, the sentence is 14 to 21 days. She said the jail term for Black was far more because it took into account her other actions.

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