Lake Milton woman sues caregiver in theft


By PETER H. MILLIKEN

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN — An elderly Lake Milton woman has filed a civil lawsuit against a home-health aide and her accomplice, who were sentenced to 27 months in prison for the theft of jewelry and guns from the elderly woman’s home.

Defendants in the lawsuit are the home-health aide, Cynthia L. Russell, 46, of Canary Drive, Lake Milton, and her accomplice, Keith A. McGarvey, 42, who was Russell’s live-in companion.

Also listed as a defendant in the civil action is Loving Hands Home Care of Youngstown, which the suit said employed Russell and negligently sent her into the elderly woman’s home without performing a proper background check. Loving Hands officials could not be reached to comment.

The suit, which demands a jury trial, was filed last week in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court by Atty. J. Gerald Ingram.

The suit seeks $273,000 in compensatory damages for what it says is the minimum value of the items stolen between Oct. 1 and 25, 2007, unspecified punitive damages, and attorney fees.

In the criminal case, Judge R. Scott Krichbaum of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court sentenced Russell and McGarvey to prison in June 2008 after both pleaded guilty to three counts of theft pertaining to a handgun, a rifle and between $5,000 and $100,000 in jewelry and collectibles.

Judge Krichbaum imposed the prison time and ordered Russell and McGarvey to make full restitution despite Russell’s daughter’s appearance at Russell’s sentencing with $4,000 in restitution for the deductible of the victim’s homeowner’s insurance.

J. Michael Thompson, the assistant county prosecutor in the criminal case, said much of the stolen property had been recovered and returned to the elderly woman as of the sentencing date.

In the Lake Milton residence, Russell cared for the elderly woman’s ailing 84-year-old husband, who died while the theft case was pending.

During this time, the elderly woman, also an octogenarian, was undergoing surgery and rehabilitation.

When she was sentenced in the Mahoning County criminal case, Russell was in Lake County jail, facing similar charges in a theft from a home where she worked in that county, Thompson said.

McGarvey had a lengthy criminal record.

McGarvey is at the North Coast Correctional Treatment Facility in Grafton, and Russell is at the Northeast Pre-Release Center in Cleveland, the suit says.

The civil suit is assigned to Judge James C. Evans.

milliken@vindy.com

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