An elderly woman. [illustrative].
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Following a protracted undercover investigation, two Jerusalem bankers were arrested Monday for allegedly defrauding an elderly female Holocaust survivor out of hundreds of thousands of shekels, police announced on Tuesday.
According to the Jerusalem police fraud unit, the investigation into the Bank Benleumi officials began over a month ago, after a complaint by a concerned social worker caring for the 88-year-old victim in a nursing home.
“As soon as the police received information that money had been stolen from the elderly woman, an investigation was opened and the two bank officials were arrested based on the evidence obtained,” said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.
Subsequent investigation determined that the elderly woman, who is childless and had known the suspects for several years, recently amended her will to leave nearly NIS 1 million to one of them after being coaxed by the pair to change her beneficiary.
Working in collaboration with Benleumi officials, fraud investigators also determined that the suspects met with the woman on multiple occasions in recent years at the bank, the nursing home where she resides, and at a hospital when she fell ill.
Following an audit of the woman’s account, it was discovered that NIS 700,000 in checks had been transferred to one of the suspect’s accounts, as well as to an unidentified third party.
It also emerged that the elderly woman was asked by one of the suspects to bequeath her remaining funds to him.
Police said both suspects cooperated during the investigation, but alleged that the elderly woman gave them the money of her own free will as an expression of “gratitude for their moral support.”
Both suspects were arraigned Tuesday at Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court, where a judge extended the remand of one of the bankers, while the other has been released under house arrest.