A Connecticut woman was arrested after it was discovered that she stole more than $600,000 from her husband over the period of many years by convincing him he had Alzheimer’s disease. Donna Marino, 63, was said to have committed the theft over the course of 20 years but was finally arrested on October 27 after a months-long investigation that saw her charged with first-degree larceny and third-degree forgery, the East Haven Police Department said in a statement.
- Marino’s crime was well-planned and deliberate. As investigators revealed, Marino managed to defraud her husband out of so much money by forging his signature on pension and social security checks as well as worker’s compensation settlements and other legal documents, which point point she would “[deposit] the funds in a secret bank account without his knowledge.”
- She managed to convince her husband he was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. While you might think this would be difficult to achieve, Marino was convincing and incessant with her claims. “Ms. Marino advised investigators that she was able to hide her fraudulent activities over the years by convincing her husband that he was suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease,” police said. “She further stated that she believed that convincing him that he had Alzheimer’s Disease would prevent him from going to the bank, ultimately to discover the low balances on his accounts.”
- Marino’s husband and his adult daughter, Elena, contacted police in March 2019. The arrest affidavit revealed that Elena had discovered the theft upon finding “financial paperwork” in the couple’s home that Marino had been stealing money since 1999. The victim told officers that Marino had “always controlled his finances” and that “he had no idea she was taking money from him” until Elena’s discovery.
- The victim filed for divorce from Marino in January 2020. In the filing, Marino’s husband said that his wife had been “defrauding him of his pension, paychecks, workers compensation settlements,a nd other forms of monetary gains over multiple decades.” He also revealed that he wanted to press charges on her.
- Marino admitted everything to police. Not only did she admit to depositing her husband’s checks into her mother’s bank account for roughly 13 years, she even said she fraudulently obtained Power of Attorney for the victim and used to file his taxes. She also pawned off many of his belongings. She was able to do all of this via the Alzheimer’s scam.
- She was ruthless in her crimes. Anytime Marino’s husband mentioned wanting to go to the bank, Marino told him that “the last time he went inside he made a scene due to his Alzheimer’s Disease, causing him not to go inside to avoid embarrassment.” His daughter Elena later told WFSB that one of her father’s biggest fears was always being diagnosed with the illness since it runs in their family.
- Marino is now being held in prison. She was held on $25,000 bond and appeared before a judge on October 28, according to The Washington Post. She will be represented by the New Haven County public defender’s office.