A live-in caregiver accused of stealing more than $100,000 from an elderly Highland Park couple was found guilty Tuesday by a Lake County jury.
Justina S. Kemokai was one of two caretakers charged in November 2014 with stealing more than $184,000 from the couple through unapproved ATM withdrawals, fraudulent credit card transactions and double billings for services rendered.
The fraudulent activity, which dated back to 2011, was discovered by the couple's adult children during a review of their parents' financial accounts, police said at the time.
Kemokai, who has been out on bond since her arrest, was taken into custody by Lake County Sheriff's deputies after the jury verdict was announced. She is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 21.
The jury found Kemokai guilty of three counts of financial exploitation of the elderly and three counts of financial exploitation of the disabled, according to Cynthia Vargas, spokeswoman for Lake County State's Attorney Michael Nerheim. All six counts are Class 1 felonies punishable by four to 15 years in prison, though Kemokai also could receive probation, Vargas said.
Kemokai, of the 6400 block of South Stony Island Avenue, Chicago, also was found guilty of theft over $100,000, theft by deception over $100,000, forgery and unlawful use of a credit card.
The second caregiver, Laticia L. Lewis, 42, pleaded guilty to theft Aug. 29 without an acknowledgment of guilt, Vargas said. Lewis was ordered to make restitution of $60,759 and perform 100 hours of public service, Vargas said. She also was sentenced to 282 days in Lake County Jail, the amount of time that she'd served.
Lewis, of the first block of Oxford Drive, Carpentersville, was ordered not to have contact with the victims' family and to stay away from alcohol and drugs, as well as all locations where alcohol is sold, according to Vargas.
Highland Park police said in late 2014 they'd been contacted by family members that May regarding what appeared to be fraudulent activities in their parents' accounts. Their review of financial records revealed transactions that were inconsistent with their lifestyles and spending habits, police said at the time. Police conducted an investigation that led to the conclusion that two, separate live-in caretakers — who'd been independently contracted — were involved in financially exploiting the couple.
A family member said Wednesday that his father passed away in May of this year.
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Caregiver found guilty of financial exploitation of Highland Park couple