(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

It’s election day in B.C. (Black Press files)
It’s Election Day in B.C.: Here’s what you need to know to vote

B.C.’s snap election has already broken records for advance voter turnout, mail-in ballots

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

Sven Spichiger, Washington State Department of Agriculture managing entomologist, displays a canister of Asian giant hornets vacuumed from a nest in a tree behind him Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. Scientists in Washington state discovered the first nest earlier in the week of so-called murder hornets in the United States and worked to wipe it out Saturday morning to protect native honeybees. Workers with the state Agriculture Department spent weeks searching, trapping and using dental floss to tie tracking devices to Asian giant hornets, which can deliver painful stings to people and spit venom but are the biggest threat to honeybees that farmers depend on to pollinate crops. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Crews vacuum ‘murder hornets’ out of Washington nest, first-ever in U.S.

The nest found in the city of Blaine near the Canadian border is about the size of a basketball

Upgrades underway at the Sunnyside Reservoir, adjacent to Sunnyside Acres Urban Forest, raised concerns among some residents Tuesday (Oct. 20), however, stewards of the park say everything went off without a hitch. (Tracy Holmes photo)
‘No issue’ with South Surrey reservoir drainage, despite trail user concerns: urban forest steward

Forest visitor taken aback by ‘unprecedented flooding’ of trails

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

BC Hydro map showing where power has been knocked out is dotted with over a dozen outages. (BC Hydro map screenshot)
Thousands without power in Lower Mainland on election day

One outage in Langley and Surrey is affecting over 4,000 customers

file
One dead after fiery crash near Agassiz

Agassiz RCMP report a 56-year-old man died Friday night

The possibility of the Canadian Premier League expanding to the Fraser Valley has been floated online. (Facebook photo)
Canadian Premier League possibly eyeing Fraser Valley expansion

Soccer league looking to add ninth team to the mix, B.C. markets potentially rumoured

Most Read