A property manager at an apartment complex in Elizabeth has been charged with siphoning more than $120,000 out of an elderly tenant’s bank account over the course of about a year and a half, acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo announced Monday.
Natalia Calderon-Diaz, 33, of Elizabeth is charged with a single count of second-degree theft.
The charge marked the result of an investigation by the Special Prosecutions Unit of the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, initiated upon a July 2019 referral from Adult Protective Services of Union County, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Patricia Cronin, who is prosecuting the case.
The investigation, spearheaded by UCPO Detective Dennis Donovan, determined that the now 89-year-old female victim, who has no surviving immediate family, lived alone at the Linden Arms apartment complex on Linden Avenue in Elizabeth when she became acquainted with the defendant, who gradually gained her trust – and access to her bank account.
From December 2017 through June 2019, Calderon-Diaz allegedly withdrew $122,482 from the account without the victim’s knowledge or permission, spending the money on lavish vacations to destinations such as Las Vegas and Florida, high-end designer clothing, and other items.
Calderon-Diaz was served the charges last week, and a first appearance in Superior Court has been tentatively scheduled to take place on the morning of Friday, September 20.
Convictions on second-degree criminal charges are commonly punishable by 5 to 10 years in state prison.
These criminal charges are mere accusations. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.