Insurance agent indicted; accused of scamming elderly woman with dementia

Photo: MGN

RIVERSIDE, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) -- An insurance agent has been indicted by a grand jury after prosecutors say she scammed an elderly woman out of nearly $40,000 in cash and annuities.

The victim, Mary Newland, has dementia according to her granddaughter Shannon Embs. Embs told Fox 45, that's one of the reasons she believes her grandmother was targeted.

"To know that my grandmother trusted somebody and who she thought was her friend," said Shannon Embs.

Shannon is Mary Newland's custodian and watchdog.

"It doesn't hurt to be in their business and making sure their money is going where it's supposed to go," she said about taking care of elderly family members.

An insurance agent cold called Mary asking for work to invest her annuities, Shannon said she got suspicious when the insurance agent started making house calls.

It wasn't until Shannon tried to pay something off, she said, that she uncovered the scam.

"When my father and I went to pay the lawyer there was not enough money to pay the lawyer," Shannon said.

"I discovered two months later [The suspect] had conned my grandmother into opening up a joint bank account," Shannon continued, "She went into there and switched all of my grandmother's annuities over to her address and her phone number, same with the bank account and at that point she started cashing in my grandmother's annuities."

In total, Shannon said it was a loss of $10,000 cash and $31,000 in annuities.

Shannon called police, and on Monday (4/17) the agent was identified as Mary Hawkey of Centerville and was indicted by a Montgomery County Grand Jury.

After an investigation by the Montgomery County Prosecutor's office, Hawkey has been charged with felony Theft from the Elderly.

"It was so easy-- yes that's what she told me," said Mary Newland.

Shannon said the scam has affected their whole family, trying to pay for Mary's bills while they wait for court.

But, Shannon said, it's not just her grandmother she's worried about.

"That's what I'm afraid of is that there's going to be other victims out there and other families that may not know," Shannon said.

The prosecutor's office said Mary Hawkey was not working with a specific agency at the same time she was allegedly scamming Mary Newland.

Hawkey is not in custody but has been ordered to appear in court April 27.

For more information on how to spot and prevent elderly fraud, follow this link to the Ohio Attorney General Office's website.

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