A woman was convicted of felony elder abuse and fraud on Wednesday after getting her aunt to sign over the deed to the older relative's East Palo Alto home, the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office said.
Shirley Venoya Remmert, 71, lived with her 97-year-old aunt who owned the home and provided care for her older relative, who was diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment in February 2015. In June of that year Remmert had her aunt sign a quitclaim deed to the home, which Remmert recorded with the county on January 2016, according to District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.
Remmert isolated her aunt from other family members, who notified the 97-year-old's bank that Remmert might be abusing her. The bank reported the concern to county Adult Protective Services. An investigation by the agency's Public Guardian/Conservatorship Program and the East Palo Alto Police Department revealed that Remmert had withdrawn between $40,000 to $80,000 from the victim's bank account and hid the money in the home without the victim's knowledge or permission.
The victim did not know she had signed the quitclaim and believed she still owned the home. She thought the paperwork was to guarantee that the house and assets would be divided among family members when she dies, according to Wagstaffe.
A jury deliberated for less than two hours after a 12-day trial and convicted Remmert on all charges: felony fiscal elder abuse by a caretaker, felony filing of a fraudulent document, and felony submitting a fraudulent claim. The jury also found the enhancements that could lead to a stiffer sentence to be true: fraud amounting to more than $500,000 and theft of more than over $200,000.
Remmert served as her own attorney during the trial with a stand-by defense counsel. She will be sentenced on June 23 and remains in custody on $50,000 bail.