CHICAGO FAMILY DEFRAUDS MENTALLY CHALLENGED SENIOR
Wednesday, September 22, 2010— Bond has been set at $250,000 for a man charged with conspiring with his family to steal more than a half-million dollars from a mentally disabled man over the course of nearly a decade, Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced Wednesday.
Ernie Rokosik Jr., 40, of the 5500 block of West 64th Place in Chicago, has been charged with one count of senior exploitation and one count of felony theft over $100,000. He appeared in bond court at 26th Street today.
Over 12 years, the 61-year-old victim had accumulated more than $600,000, thanks to savings and an inheritance. All but a few thousand dollars is gone, thanks to this scheme.
The Cook County Sheriff’s Office launched an investigation after receiving information from the victim’s attorney and Solutions For Care, a North Riverside-based group which assists senior citizens and others. Concerns were raised about the dwindling assets of the victim, who has the mental capacity of a child and is unable to handle his own finances.
Records showed the victim inherited approximately $600,000 after his mother’s death in 1998. That included a lump sum distribution of the victim’s IRA and retirement pension, which his mother had been holding for him, after he had worked for 26 years in the mailroom of a suburban financial institution.
In 2001, a Rokosik family member who was considered to be a trusted friend of the family obtained power of attorney over the victim’s finances.