Lawyer, nurse admit stealing $2 million from aging woman's estate

Sept. 23, 2013 at 9:36 PM
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- A disbarred lawyer and a registered nurse admitted they swindled more than $2 million from an aging Alaska woman they befriended, authorities said Monday.

The lawyer, Philip Eric Myers, 61, of Santa Barbara, Calif., and the nurse, Brian Ben-Israel, 53, of Anchorage, Alaska, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court and face up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, the Los Angeles Times reported court documents show. Ben-Israel is to be sentenced Dec. 19 and Myers in January, the newspaper said.

Federal prosecutor said the men's victim, Juanita Gielarowski, wound up having to move from her longtime home into a state elder care facility, where she died in July 2010.

The Times said the February indictment against the pair alleged Ben-Israel endeared himself to Gielarowski by acting as her healthcare provider and "financial adviser," and befriended Gielarowski's daughter, Linda Stowers, who was overseeing her mother's affairs as her health declined.

Ben-Israel introduced the mother and daughter to Myers.

Ben-Israel and Myers then schemed to gain control of Gielarowski's wealth for their personal use and to invest in a corporation headed by Myers, called Typhoon Security Technology, the indictment stated.

By August 2009, Gielarowski's funds had dwindled to the point she had to move into the care home, authorities said.

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