Montreal Couple Sentenced For Defrauding Scheme

Written on behalf of Arbesman Hamilton LLP

A Montreal woman was recently sentenced to two years of house arrest followed by three years of probation for her role in a defrauding scheme described by the judge as a “disaster.”

A Chilling Escape

The victim’s situation came to the attention of a Montreal police after the victim was found standing outside in the snow without her jacket in February, 2014. When approached by police, she told them she had been living in a basement bedroom of a senior’s residence without access to a phone or visitors. She said she had been left there by people who told the facility that she had Alzheimer’s and Dementia and could not look after herself or be trusted if she said otherwise. She also told police that the people who left her in the home also took her savings of nearly $500,000.

The Story Becomes Clear

The victim explained to investigators that she had hired Anita Obodzinski in 2013 to provide help around the house. However, the victim became suspicious of Obodzinski after money went missing from her purse. She told Obodzinski that her help would no longer be needed.

Six months later, Obodzinski returned to the victim’s home with her husband, Arthur Trzciakowski. The victim claims the couple forced themselves into her home and tried to get her to sign some documents. She says a struggle ensued, which left the victim with cuts on her arms.

Afterwards, Obodzinski approached a social worker, Alissa Kerner, who agreed to write a report stating ““(the victim) is unable to express herself within reason as her memory, insight and judgment are all severely impaired.” Obodzinski also hired a doctor to write a medical report with similar findings. These documents were used to demonstrate that the victim was unable to take care of herself. In December, 2013, Obodzinski forged the victim’s signature to obtain a protection mandate from the courts. This gave Obodzinski control of the victim’s finances as well as decisions concerning her health. Obodzinski placed the victim into protective supervision in February, 2014.

Once the victim escaped the facility she was placed in, it was determined that she was not unable to take care of herself. The money that was taken from her was ordered returned. The victim died in December of 2016.

Obodzinski pled guilty to obstructing justice, mischief, and knowingly using forged documents. Trzciakowski and Kerner each pled guilty to mischief and unlawfully being in the victim’s home.

During a sentencing hearing for Obodzinski and Trzciakowski, the judge was quoted by the Montreal Gazette, saying, “You literally latched on to an elderly victim and altered her life…You falsely used the court’s authority to have the victim declared incapable of taking care of herself. You took her life savings, and then you had her thrown out forcibly from her own home,” adding “I have no words to express the disgust I feel when taking cognizance of these facts.”

At Arbesman Hamilton LLP we assist clients in ensuring their financial and health needs are protected should they become incapacitated. We work with our clients to determine who they want to look after their health and finances if needed and prepare the necessary documents (power of attorney for personal care and power of attorney for property). We also help those who have concerns about the appointed decision maker of a friend or loved one, and have been providing power of attorney challenges since 1953. Contact us online or by phone at 416-481-5604 to talk today.