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Seniors targeted by employee

Newark, N.Y. --- Police say a woman who served as the day-to-day manager of a senior living center managed to steal more than $75,000 from at least eight victims.

Rebecca Russell, 36, of Phelps, was arrested this week and charged with Grand Larceny 2nd degree, Grand Larceny 4th degree, Scheme to Defraud 1st degree, Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument 2nd Degree, and two counts of Petit Larceny.

The Newark Police Chief tells 13WHAM News that the investigation began when a resident of the Armstrong Senior Living Center noticed a check missing from a checkbook.

"They went to the bank and the bank was very helpful and found that check and said no it's been written and it's been cashed, said David Christler, who added that the investigation led police to Rebecca Russell.

The investigation revealed as many as eight victims out of a total of forty residents. Chief Christler said one man was robbed of $70,000 he had received through an inheritance.

Ms. Russell took advantage of him and according to his words became his best friend, took him to the bank and sent up an account with his inheritance, put her name on the account and then over time removed all the money, said Christler.

Chief Christler said the Armstrong Senior Living Center was cooperative in the investigation and helped identify victims promptly. He said that while Russell was an Administrative Assistant she was essentially the day-to-day manager at the site.

"They are senior citizens and they don't have a lot of money, said Christler. Most of them have very little money and they hope this will get them through their life and when somebody steals it they're stealing somebody's life.

Russell told 13WHAM News that the charges were outrageous and the accusations were outlandish and that she planned to fight this case in court. She insisted on speaking to her lawyer before responding to a question about whether she had anything to say to the victims families.

The Armstrong Senior Living Center informed 13WHAM that Russell was immediately fired from her job. The center provided the following statement:

We are deeply saddened and horribly disturbed to hear of this recent news. It is very unfortunate that there are people who prey on the elderly population in our society. Our facilities and staff are cooperating with the Newark Police department to ensure that justice is served to the (affected) families.


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