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Berks woman accused of stealing $90,000 from her care-dependent uncle

A Berks County woman has been accused of stealing about $90,000 from her elderly uncle by fraudulently taking control of his financial accounts to buy herself merchandise and pay for trips to Atlantic City casinos.

Tracy L. Hoffman, 58, whose last known address is in the 3200 block of Garfield Road in Muhlenberg Township, remained free to await a hearing following arraignment June 17 before District Judge Gail M. Greth in Fleetwood.

Fleetwood police charged Hoffman with theft by unlawful taking, theft by deception, identity theft, forgery and related counts.

It’s the third time that Hoffman has been arrested in the alleged financial exploitation of an older or care-dependent person.

In January, Berks County detectives accused her of stealing more than $20,000 from a Muhlenberg Township woman after taking control of the victim’s personal checks and credit cards.

A month later, Muhlenberg police accused her of committing the same crimes against another township resident, court records show.

She was held for court on all charges in those two earlier filings and remained free awaiting further action in Berks County Court.

Fleetwood Criminal Investigator Keith W. Merkel began an investigation in October after allegations against Hoffman were brought to him by other family members of her uncle, 85, a Fleetwood resident who is now deceased.

According to the probable cause affidavit:

The complainants alleged that Hoffman had stolen $90,000 from her uncle, who was in an assisted living facility They provided records to support their claims, including a forged letter, purportedly sent by the uncle, authorizing Hoffman to handle his financial affairs.

They recounted instances in which Hoffman manipulated the victim’s accounts, adding herself as cardholder on his credit cards, and attempting to sell his property and forged checks written from the uncle’s account to Hoffman.

Interviews with personnel at the assisting living facility revealed concerning behavior by Hoffman, including attempts to access her uncle’s personal information and make unauthorized changes to his Medicare account.

An analysis of bank and credit card records revealed a pattern of suspicious transactions, including large transfers to Hoffman’s PayPal accounts and extravagant expenditures such as trips to Atlantic City.

Source: Berkshire mont

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