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Financial Fraud Law

Elder Abuse Case Leads Accountant to Prison

 Elder abuse is one of the country’s fastest growing crimes. It is committed by relatives, friends, strangers, and even trusted advisors. Now, an accountant who targeted an elderly client and stole more than $1.2 million from her has been sentenced to prison.

Barry Palczewski is going to state prison for two-to-six years for stealing more than $1.2 million from a 95-year-old woman who escaped Nazi-controlled Austria in the late 1930s. Palczewski previously pleaded guilty in N.Y. State Supreme Court to Grand Larceny in the First Degree.

New York District Attorney Cy Vance said that Palczewski “took advantage of an elderly woman, who had led a remarkable life, by stealing more than $1 million during her final years.”

According to his guilty plea and documents filed in court, Palczewski was a fiduciary accountant at the law firm that had been entrusted to handle the victim’s finances. As such, he oversaw the victim’s bank accounts and had access to her personal checks. From 2008 through 2010, he stole more than 100 checks from the victim’s personal checking account, forged in the name of the victim’s attorney, and made them payable to himself. The proceeds of the theft were used to pay Palczewski’s rent, fund his consulting business, and pay for hot tub repairs, and were deposited into his personal checking account.  In total, Palczewski stole approximately $1.2 million. 

The victim passed away in May 2012 at the age of 97.

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