“There’s predators out there. Just waiting to pounce on someone like Bob,” says Lynette Wicorek, niece of Robert Gross.
Gross is 87 years old and suffers from dementia.
Family members say Sandra Potter convinced Gross, her uncle, to sign over his property to her and swindled him out of tens of thousands of dollars.
The victim’s niece and great niece were in court today as Potter pled guilty to two counts of exploitation of a vulnerable adult.
Potter entered an Alford plea on both counts which allows a defendant to maintain innocence while pleading guilty to the charges.
But Potter’s relatives want her to pay both criminally and financially for the crime.
“Restitution for all the legal fees Bob has accrued. All the cash he’s given her over the years,” says Staci Skogas, who is now co-guardian of Gross.
Police say the elderly are often targeted for cash and should be aware of common scams.
“One that’s happening now and it’s very recent is that they’re pretending to be the IRS and calling and stating that if they don’t pay this amount they will go to jail,” says Sergeant Detective Amy Nickoloff with the Williston Police Department.
The family members of Gross want the public to know this can happen to anyone and elderly relatives should be closely safeguarded.
“Do what you can to protect them. They can’t protect themselves,” says Wicorek.
A sentencing hearing for Sandra Potter will be scheduled at a later date.