Fake Family Friend Fleeces Elderly Victim

Modified: February 5, 2014 10:13am

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Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita, III announced that 31 year-old Janelle L. Kowalewski of St. James Road in Cheektowaga pleaded guilty, as charged, to one count of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree before Erie County Court Judge Kenneth F. Case.  This was the highest charge for which she could have been convicted had she gone to trial.

Kowalewski admitted that she stole between $6,000 and $18,000 in cash from a 92 year-old woman, who suffers from dementia and now lives in a nursing home. The theft occurred in July of this year.

Kowalewski initially befriended the victim’s son, who suffers from a mental illness. Kowalewski became a frequent guest in the victim’s home, eventually learning where the victim secreted her cash. Kowaleski used the ill begotten funds to finance the purchase of consumer goods, including a 55” flat screen television and a Lincoln Town Car. 

The case was principally investigated by Cheektowaga Police Department Detectives Terrance Griffin and Joseph Crean and was successfully prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney James W. Mansour, II, who is assigned to DA Sedita’s Felony Trial Bureau.  Kowalewski faces a maximum prison term of seven years when she is sentenced before Judge Case on April 17, 2014.