EL CAJON, Calif. -- A paid caregiver accused of neglecting a 93-year-old Pearl Harbor survivor while she was stealing his life savings was charged with four felony counts Thursday.
Milagros Angeles, 62, appeared at a video arraignment in an El Cajon courtroom. She was charged with felony elder abuse, theft from an elder, false imprisonment and possession of altered checks, said Deputy District Attorney Danielle Hickman.
Milagros was arrested Tuesday after deputies went to the home of Arnold Bauer to check on his welfare. Investigators said Bauer was dehydrated and disoriented and the house was filthy. He was found clutching a photograph of the USS Vestal, the ship he served on during World War II. The coal ship was anchored next to the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack on Dec. 7, 1941.
"The case came to light because the victim's bankers noticed he had not been in since October of last year and after some inquiries had been told by this defendant various statements suggesting that he was out of town," said Hickman.
Milagros, who has been Bauer's live-in caregiver for the last three years, didn't want to let investigators into the house, deputies said. She had more than $9,000 in cash hidden on her body in five layers of clothing and a money belt, Hickman said. Investigators believe she has been systematically withdrawing money from Bauer's bank account and may have stolen $100,000 or more.
"Reports from the bank indicate she had written in a two month period 56 checks to herself amounting to $5,600. Another 29 checks to unknown individuals totaling $1800," said Hickman. "Other records indicate she has been sending money to an overseas bank account through a Filipino bank."
In court, Hickman convinced the judge to set Milagros's bail at $1 million. She said that Milagros, a Philippine national, is believed to have active ties to that country and should be considered a flight risk.
If convicted of all charges, Milagros could be sentenced to a maximum of 6 years and 8 months in prison, but the investigation is ongoing and additional charges are possible, Hickman said.
"It is is truly a very tragic case of a gentleman that was taken of by an individual that was working to steal essentially the money that was supporting him," she said.
Bauer is currently in a local hospital where he is being treated for dehydration, prostate cancer and dementia, Hickman said.
Bail set at $1M for woman accused of abusing WWII vet
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