91-year-old gets possession of house she was tricked into buying; now can sell and cut her losses

91-year-old gets possession of house

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There was a victory in court Tuesday for a 91-year-old woman who, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office says, was tricked by her aide into buying a home and a BMW — and, as a result, incurred thousands of dollars of debt.

The court gave sole ownership of the house to 91-year-old Matilda McLeod so she can sell it and cut her losses.

The aide accused of bilking McLeod and her husband tried their best to avoid News10NBC as they left court.

The aide’s name is Alpha Harris. She’s a minister. She’s an in-home aide. And she does not want you to see what she looks like.

That’s why her husband draped her in a coat as they walked out of the court room at the Hall of Justice.

A year ago almost to the day, the sheriff’s office says Harris convinced her patient, Matilda McLeod, to buy a $300,000 home in Greece and a BMW. The sheriff also says Harris inflated the checks for her aide work by $60,000.

Harris and her family lived in the home in Greece and because her name was on the deed, along with McLeod’s name, Harris couldn’t be evicted or forced to sell. The Harrises only moved out of the house last week.

On Tuesday, the court gave the home ownership completely to McLeod.

Berkeley Brean, News10NBC: “So now the power is back with Matilda to unload this house and get the proceeds.”
Robert Friedman, lawyer for Matilda McLeod: “Yes, Matilda has full authority to sell the house now. We’re not sure how much the house is going to sell for, what condition the house is in and after paying brokers’ commissions and closing costs we’re not sure what her total losses will be.”

Paul Vacca, defense attorney: “I’ve represented (Harris) on other things in the past, not criminal, and she’s always been honest and trustworthy. So we are going to be fighting on this case.”

McLeod has Parkinson’s disease and dementia and in September she suffered a stroke.

What we covered Tuesday was the civil part of this case.

A grand jury indicted Harris on grand larceny, mortgage fraud and identify theft. Harris gets arraigned on those charges in two weeks.