A 22-year-old Dundalk woman who admitted to stealing more than $34,000 from six elderly women through a ruse was sentenced yesterday to two years in prison, with eight more suspended, under a deal in which she pleaded guilty in October in Baltimore Circuit Court.
According to prosecutors, Vaneka Powers called women in their late 60s, 70s and 80s, posing as a Medicare worker or Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. employee and telling them their benefits or utilities would be cut off if they didn't give her cash immediately. She would pick up the cash herself or send her 14-year-old sister.
One victim - a 69-year-old woman who attended yesterday's sentencing hearing, but did not speak - was bilked out of $3,000 just before she was to have a cancer operation.
"I just hope I get my money back," said the woman, who requested her name not be used because she fears retaliation. "I really need it."
The woman said she owes medical bills of more than $10,000.
"To prey on these type of victims is particularly disgusting," Judge Thomas E. Noel told the defendant, who also was given three years of probation and ordered to repay the victims.
In 1998, Powers pleaded guilty and received probation after she and her mother robbed an 89-year-old woman and stuffed a sock in her mouth. She also has a juvenile theft record, prosecutors said.
Assistant State's Attorney Isabel Mercedes Cumming, who prosecuted the case, said investigators can't be sure whether others were bilked by Powers and didn't report it.