WASHINGTON (KDKA) — A Washington County lawyer is accused of stealing from an elderly client.
Michael Alberty, 57, is charged with theft by deception, theft by unlawful taking and misapplication of entrusted property and property of government or financial.
“Very sad to see someone of this age victimized int his way,” neighbor Nikolay Ivanov said.
The alleged victim is an 87-year-old woman who had been staying at the Norbert Elderly Care Home. Alberty was originally called by the victim for help on her estate plan and South Side home restoration project.
She was hoping that the home would be handicap-ready, but neighbors say that never happened.
Police became aware of the odd situation when a Norbert Elderly Care Home official told officers she believed that Alberty had used “undue influence” over the victim to divert money from the victim’s bank account for his own benefit.
Police say Alberty continuously instructed the victim to sign 33 checks that he told her were payments for construction workers who were remodeling her home.
But, over a period of six and a half months, $180,470 of the victim’s money was paid to Alberty’s account.
The victim’s case was referred to the Allegheny County Department of Human Services – Agency On Aging, resulting in an elder financial abuse audit.
Alberty told the auditor that he was paid as a construction consultant and personal assistant. At one point he told the auditor that the victim was a millionaire and that she could afford this.
He provided alleged contracts for this arrangement, but the victim told officials she had never seen the documents and that her middle name was misspelled in them.
When the victim was made aware of how much of her money had been directed into Alberty’s account, she said she was unaware and said that he “needs to be thrown in jail.”
Following his arraignment, Alberty’s bail was set at $50,000 straight and a preliminary hearing was set for March 8, 2017.