Pair Sentenced in Elder Abuse Case
District Attorney Jan Scully announced that Christina Amaya and Elizabeth Marks were both charged and sentenced in San Joaquin and Sacramento County for residential burglary and elder abuse. Last month, both defendants pled no contest to first degree burglary and to two strikes, subjecting them to the possibility of life in prison should they commit a felony in the future. Marks was sentenced to 16 years in prison and Amaya was sentenced to 8 years, 8 months in prison.
In each case, the defendants approached the elderly victim at their home with a ruse to gain entry.
Their trademark was to wear a nurse's medical smock and offer to buy a lawn ornament or wood bench in the elderly victim's front yard. Once a conversation was established, the defendants asked to come inside the home to exchange contact information to complete the sale on a future date. While in the home, one defendant would distract the victim while the other defendant went into other rooms to steal jewelry and other valuables.
Between March 7 and March 16, 2012, six different victims had fallen prey to the defendant's scheme. Their ages ranged from 74 to 89 years old and they resided in Lodi, Galt, Folsom, and Sacramento. The case broke open when the defendants used a victim's credit cards at a local business and the defendant's photos were shown on a local newscast. Several of the other victims, who had all previously reported their crimes, called law enforcement stating that they recognized the defendants.
By coordinating prosecution efforts, the two counties were able to resolve all six cases over the last three months.
Deputy District Attorney Matt Chisholm states, "These defendants targeted some of the most trusting and vulnerable people in our community. Although they did not use violence, their crimes were devastating to the victims' psyche and sense of security. Unprecedented coordination and skillful investigation by the Lodi and Sacramento law enforcement community ensured that the case was fully prosecuted, justice was served, and that the seniors of our community remain protected."