PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – An 81-year-old woman is accused of stealing between $15,000 and $30,000 from a woman she was caring for.

Police say Helene Alberts was hired to take care of Lois Schwartz, a recent stoke victim who lives in an apartment in Versailles.

However, Schwartz’s daughter, who lives in the state of California, noticed some unauthorized transactions on her mother’s bank account.

After contacting police, it was concluded that Alberts allegedly stole between $15,000 and $30,000 over more than three years.

Police say Alberts admitted to taking the money, saying she could barely afford to pay bills on her fixed income and would take between $150 and $500 per month from Schwartz’s bank account.

Alberts says she used the money to pay for items such as groceries and even used a check to pay for dog tags.

Alberts is charged with theft by unlawful taking.

The Area Agency on Aging says families should take great care in choosing a care provider and monitoring that care.

“I would suggest individuals start early, find somebody that they absolutely trust, look for clearances and references, and follow up on the references,” said Russell Goralczyk, of the Area Agency on Aging.

“It’s always a good idea to keep an eye, a watch on what money is coming in and what money is going out,” added Don Grant, also of the Area Agency on Aging. “In the case we have in point, somebody was watching what was going on, which made it much easier to identify that it was, in fact, a theft occurring.”

Alberts was hired by Eastern Area Adult Services as caretaker for Schwartz in 2010, but was fired last December.

Allegheny County’s Area Agency on Aging’s Seniorline can help with caregiver choice should you choose their agency. That number is 412-350-5460.

If you suspect abuse, neglect or financial exploitation, their protective services number is 412-350-6905.

For more information on monitoring caregivers, visit the link below:

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