(Unsplash)

(Unsplash)

Caretaker jailed, must pay back money after stealing $260K from elderly B.C. couple

Antonette Dizon, now 50, had been hired to provide extra care for Henry and Helen Abfalter

A woman must pay back $105,000 after stealing $260,000 from an elderly Coquitlam couple, a B.C. provincial court judged ruled Thursday.

Antonette Dizon, now 50, told the court “she was tight on money” and wanted to “provide a good life for her children” when she stole $260,000 over 15 months from a couple she had been hired to care for.

An agency hired Dizon to provide extra care to Henry and Helen Abfalter, both 86 at the time, in September 2014 at their retirement home.

Dizon helped the couple with daily activities, court documents said, and “developed a close relationship with both of them.”

She assisted the Abfalters with their banking and learned the PIN from the husband’s debit card.

Just one month after the husband was hospitalized in December 2014, Dizon took his debit card from his wallet and on Jan. 14, 2015, she began taking money from the Abfalters’ chequing and saving accounts.

Court documents say she made frequent withdrawals, sometimes daily, and usually took the maximum limit of $1,000.

She continued to care for the couple until September 2015, when the husband died and Dizon went to work full time for a cleaning business.

However, she remained close to the Abfalter family, with her daughter singing at the husband’s funeral and visiting the widow for Christmas and Mother’s Day.

Dizon also continued to steal money from the Abfalters.

Helen Abfalter’s daughter found out about the theft in April 2016, after the bank told her the balance in the account was $200,000, down significantly from the $490,000 just over a year prior.

The daughter was told withdrawals had been made at ATMs all throughout the Lower Mainland

The theft was reported to the police who began surveilling the bank branches where the debit card was being used.

Dizon made her last withdrawal in April 2016 when the ATM did not return the debit card.

After police arrested her, Dizon admitted to stealing the $260,000.

She said she had taken the money to “provide her children with a good life.” Police learned Dizon had bought a new car for her daughter, a piano, a floor polisher for her cleaning business, a bedroom furniture set for her daughter, tuition for her daughter, a trip to Disneyland and the cleaning business that she now owns.

Dizon had also used the money to pay for rent and food, paid off her Visa debt and sent some funds to family members in the Philippines.

At the time of her arrest, she had almost no money remaining.

In an victim impact statement, Helen Abfalter’s daughter said Dizon’s crime had overshadowed the last few months of her mother’s life. Abfalter passed away nine month’s after Dizon’s arrest.

When Helen had first learned of the crime, she initially refused to believe Dizon was responsible, calling her former caretaker “the kindest person.”

“She could not understand how to reconcile what Ms. Dizon projected – a good mother, church going and conscientious – with someone who could do something so dishonest and cruel,” the court documents said.

The Abfalters managed to recoup some of the money by seizing assets and through settlements with the bank and hiring agency that had brought in Dizon. She must pay back the remaining $105,000.

After pleading guilty, Dizon was sentenced to 12 months in custody and a probationary period of 18 months. During her probation, she may not possess identification or credit or debit cards except those belonging to family, not work or volunteer with the elderly and not have any contact with Helen Abfalter immediate family.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Almost every health region in the province saw an increase in overdose calls last year. (Blackpress files)
Overdose call numbers reach five-year-high in Maple Ridge.

BC Emergency Health Services responded to almost 500 local calls in 2020

Cam Blake released his first album called <em>Bad Vacation</em> on Jan. 15. (Special to The News)
Maple Ridge musician releases first album

Cam Blake’s first album, Bad Vacation, released Jan. 15

Members of the Maple Ridge Disc Golf Club team up to update the “frolf” course at Thornhill Park. (Special to The News)
Maple Ridge Disc Golf Club helps upgrade local course

Thornhill Park frisbee links usage has skyrocketed since pandemic

Cody Malawsky at the box lacrosse provincials in 2019. As the highly skilled player adds size he will dominate junior, predicts longtime coach Daren Fridge. (Tim McCormick/Special to The News)
Ridge Meadows Hospice Society volunteer Jill Constable. (Ridge Meadows Hospice Society/Special to The News)
Ridge Meadows Hospice celebrating 25 years

Celebratory White Dove Dinner raising money for support and grief programs

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
1-in-5 COVID tests coming back positive in and around Fernie, sparking concern

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

Throughout December, RCMP conducted CounterAttack road checks as police worked to keep roads free of impaired drivers. (BLACK PRESS file photo)
‘You can’t make this stuff up’: Stories from the B.C. CounterAttack campaign

Amusing, yes, but a reminder impaired driving affects ability to drive and to make good decisions

Snow is forecasted to appear in parts of Metro Vancouver this weekend. (Black Press Media files)
Snow forecasted for parts of Lower Mainland this weekend

Environment Canada is predicting flurries and snow from Saturday to Monday evening

Most Read