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Edmonton health-care aide charged after seniors defrauded of $500K

Edmonton police badge. The Canadian Press File

A 53-year-old health-care aide has been charged after two seniors were defrauded of more than $500,000.

Edmonton police said they were contacted by a 75-year-old man in December 2018 after he said he was defrauded of nearly $160,000 by his health-care aide.

The EPS Senior Protection Unit started an investigation which found another victim — an 86-year-old woman — who police said was financially exploited out of $400,000. Police allege the suspect provided care to the woman in May 2016 and she maintained contact with her until June 2019.

Det. Denise Zielie said the seniors were in a “vulnerable position” because they both require personal care in their homes.

“They had developed a friendship with a health-care attendant who later betrayed them. They were in disbelief that someone who provided care could lie to them and subsequently influence them to give her almost $500,000 of their hard-earned savings,” Zielie said.

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“The stories that I hear can really pull at my heartstrings but that further drives me to advocate for a group of people — seniors — who are often neglected and forgotten.”

Sofia Sharin Hafiz, 53, of Edmonton, has since been charged with two counts of fraud over $5,000.

Investigators encourage other seniors who may have had similar experiences to contact EPS at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online.

Police said seniors subjected to elder abuse or their advocates with knowledge of incidents of elder abuse can also contact the Senior’s Abuse Helpline at 780-454-8888 or the Elder/Senior Citizen Abuse Support at 780-477-2929.

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