Columbia woman accused of defrauding mother-in-law out of more than $157,000

YORK COUNTY — A Columbia woman has been charged after an investigation of the alleged financial exploitation of her mother-in-law, an 86-year-old York County woman, according to York County District Attorney Dave Sunday.

Donna Guiles, 54, of the 400 block of Maple St., was charged on July 18 after members of the York County District Attorney’s Office and the York County Area Agency on Aging began investigating concerns raised by officials at Union Community Bank in Lancaster, Sunday’s office said in a press release.

Over the past seven months, investigators uncovered an elaborate scheme by Guiles to defraud 86-year-old Ethel Edelman out of $157,343.18, Sunday’s office said. The fraud included real estate valued at $125,600 and 196 unauthorized charges against Edelman’s bank account that did not benefit her due to her living situation. The charges included items from various grocery stores, hardware stores, beverage stores, Wine and Spirits shops, gasoline purchases, Direct TV bills, wireless internet bills, a furniture store, and home improvements on real estate Edelman did not own, Sunday’s office said.

“Whether it be physical abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation, elder abuse has become far too prevalent in society today,” Sunday said in a press release. “It’s disgusting to see our most vulnerable citizens preyed upon, and yet, that’s exactly what Donna Guiles did. She abused the trust she was given as Mrs. Edelman’s Power of Attorney. My office will continue to work with the York County Area Agency on Aging to identify victims and hold the perpetrators accountable.”

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