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Queens health aide pleads guilty to trying to steal $10K from elderly patient

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A Queens woman who worked as a healthcare aide at a Port Washington retirement community admitted Thursday that she tried to steal $10,000 from an 88-year-old patient, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said.

Stephanie Benodin, 26, of Queens Village, pleaded guilty Feb. 6 to a fourth-degree grand larceny charge. Under a plea deal, Benodin will be sentenced in April to two months in jail and three years probation.

Prosecutors said she admitted to stealing a check from a patient’s purse at The Tuttle Center, a life care retirement community in Port Washington, while working as a personal care assistant. According to the attorney general’s office, Benodin signed the 88-year-old woman’s name on a $10,200 check made payable to her mother before trying to deposit the check at a bank in Queens.

When the bank notified the elderly woman’s family that the check was being returned for insufficient funds, the victim’s daughter called Port Washington Police. An investigation led detectives to Benodin, who was caught on bank surveillance tapes and later admitted to trying to deposit the fraudulent check, prosecutors said when she was arrested.

“The abuse of New York’s elderly citizens, often the most vulnerable among us, can be criminal – and in this case, it will mean jail time for the perpetrator,” Schneiderman said. “This aide and others like her will be brought to justice and should be barred from caring for the infirm.”

In addition to her jail time, part of Benodin’s sentencing will include the prohibition of working with “incompetent, elderly, inform or disabled persons” for three years.

A representative at the Tuttle Center hung up on a reporter when reached for comment after Beondin’s arrest in April. Follow up phone calls were not returned.

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