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Man arrested on criminal charges for stealing from elderly women

Older citizens should always remain on guard against the proverbial wolf in sheep's clothing. In a Massachusetts condo in downtown Salem the elderly women residents saw this wolf as a single father struggling to survive. They accommodated him in numerous ways and he repaid them by robbing their jewelry and defrauding them of their money. Now he's facing criminal charges of felony larceny by single scheme, larceny by check and larceny by false pretense, as well as the criminal offense of receiving stolen property.

Salem police estimate that "tens of thousands of dollars" worth of jewelry, some of it family heirlooms, were pawned by the suspect throughout 2013, shortly after he was hired, according to the police report. Recently, he appeared for a pre-trial hearing, and many of the women were there, ready to testify if necessary. At the hearing, his lawyer indicated negotiations with the district attorney to settle the cases.

It would appear that a criminal defense is not a factor in this case. The prosecutor told the judge that additional charges would be filed in the case. Around August Salem police started receiving reports from residents about missing jewelry. They immediately suspected the man, partly because he had just been fired but not for theft, rather it was for doing the extra jobs on the side rather than doing his paid work.

Police tracked him down by checking pawnshops in the area. Some of the jewelry was found and the man's name shows up on the transactions in shops in Salem and Peabody. With his name on the slips, it really closes off much of a substantive defense, making the plea bargaining by his lawyer probably the most feasible strategy.

In Massachusetts, where criminal charges are found to be accompanied by overwhelming evidence of guilt it's prudent for criminal defense counsel to initiate an early process of plea bargaining to try and obtain the best deal. Concessions are often easier to obtain early in the case when considerable work and trouble can be avoided by cooperation. The preferred strategy here is to concentrate on building a presentation for the sentencing court that will show mitigating circumstances and difficulties in the man's life.

Source: The Salem News, Police: Elderly women at Salem condo complex target of thefts by employee, Julie Manganis, Sept. 21, 2013

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