Lawyers, documents say health aide used 90-year-old patient’s money, credit rating and signature to buy a home, BMW

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The Monroe County Sheriff says a home health aide cashed pre-signed checks of her 90-year-old patient with inflated amounts.

But the patient’s lawyers told us the theft is much more complicated than that.

The lawyer says the aide used her patient’s money to buy a home, a BMW, and hire her husband as security.

Matilda “Hilda” McLeod is 90, and the sheriff says she is the victim. Alpha Harris is the in-home aide charged with stealing from McLeod.

“I know she feels somewhat, what would be the word, vindicated?” said McLeod’s lawyer John Schmidt. “With a woman at her stage in life something like this was extremely traumatic, I think it would be traumatic for anybody.”

The sheriff charged Harris with stealing $60,000.

Berkeley Brean, News10NBC: “What would you pin Hilda’s loss at?”
John Schmidt, Phillips Lytle attorney: “At this point we’d prefer not to disclose it but it’s multiples of that.”

That’s because the lawyers and a separate lawsuit says Harris used McLeod’s money, credit rating, and signatures to buy a $300,000 home and used BMW.

“There was a fraudulent mortgage that Alpha Harris secured by manipulating Hilda,” Schmidt said. “There was an expensive, high-end, used automobile that was purchased using Hilda’s funds and credit rating and name as a co-signer on a loan effectively without her consent.”

News10NBC’s Berkeley Brean went to the home in Greece that Matilda McLeod ponied up $16,000 in a down payment for and now — according to her attorneys — is responsible for the mortgage.

“Yep,” Schmidt said. “And the potential liability on the mortgage — down payment, brokers fees, closing costs, down payment on the car.”

Brean: “Yeah, I saw the BMW in the garage when I was at the house today at the address in Greece.”
Schmidt: “Anyone answer the door?”
Brean: “No.”

The Harrises were not at their home when News10NBC went to talk to them.

The lawyers says when Hilda McLeod expressed some anxiety at her home, Harris hired her husband as a security guard and paid him with McLeod’s money.

The lawsuit filed in mid-March in State Supreme Court is asking the court to order the sale of the home in Greece so that McLeod can get her money back and the mortgage can be paid off.

The hearing date on that lawsuit is July 13.