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Detective accuses caregiver of being untruthful



Published: Sat, January 8, 2011 @ 12:04 a.m.

By Peter H. Milliken

milliken@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

A detective accused David J. Venerose Jr. of not being truthful on the witness stand about funeral arrangements for 89-year-old Geraldine Burke, improvements he said were made to her home and purchases of Hollywood memorabilia he made with her money.

A Mahoning County grand jury indicted Venerose, 40, of Sheridan Road, on Thursday on one count of passing $8,600 worth of bad rent checks for a Boardman bar he used to operate and three counts of perjury.

Detective Ben Switka of the Boardman Police Department investigated the case for the bad-check charge, and Detective David Benigas of the county sheriff’s department investigated the perjury allegations. The case is being prosecuted by Nicholas Modarelli, an assistant county prosecutor.

Venerose could not be reached to comment Friday.

The perjury counts allege that Venerose lied under oath in a March 9, 2009, guardianship hearing in the county’s probate court concerning Burke, who lived in Boardman before being moved to a Youngstown nursing home. Venerose had been a caregiver for Burke, who has dementia.

Venerose and Burke opened a joint checking account in which $29,260 was deposited from cashing in Burke’s life-insurance policies and $36,809 was deposited from a reverse mortgage on Burke’s residence, Benigas said.

That $66,069 total was depleted before the guardianship hearing, Benigas said. The sum nearly equals the $67,560 in legal fees and restitution to Burke’s guardianship estate Venerose agreed to pay over the next 16 years in a settlement of a concealment-of-assets complaint against him in probate court.

One perjury count alleges Venerose falsely testified he took $10,000 from the bank account to pay for pre-planned funeral arrangements for Burke at Fox Funeral Home in Boardman.

In reality, Benigas said funeral home staff told him there were no $10,000 arrangements. Instead, Benigas said funeral home staff told him Venerose brought them a $2,150 life-insurance policy she had signed over to make pre-arrangements for her cremation. Benigas said he doesn’t know what Venerose really bought with the $10,000.

A second perjury count alleges Venerose falsely testified he used the joint bank account to buy three reclining lift chairs for Burke, a scooter, a home medical-alert system, a new clothes washer, a couch and a refrigerator, to pay for other caregivers, for painting and plumbing upgrades to two doors and for handicapped-accessibility improvements to her house.

Venerose, however, had no receipts to document any of those expenditures; the company he said did the home-improvement work didn’t exist; and no permits were issued for any of the reported home-improvement work, Benigas said.

A witness said none of the reported work was done, and Benigas said he visited Burke’s former residence and saw “no evidence whatsoever” of the improvements Venerose claimed were performed.

The third perjury count alleges Venerose falsely testified Burke signed a check from the joint checking account for $7,532 that was sent to Profiles in History, a California-based Hollywood memorabilia company, and that he had never heard of that company.

In fact, Benigas said Venerose was a registered bidder who bought some memorabilia in the company’s online auction and had the items delivered to his residence. The company supplied e-mails in which Venerose asked the company for more time to pay.

When asked whether any criminal charges would be filed against Venerose in the disappearance of Burke’s assets, Benigas said, “That’s a question we’ve been pondering.”

The prosecution appears to be at a disadvantage there because Burke no longer can be a competent witness as to what she did or did not authorize Venerose to do with the money in their joint bank account, Benigas said.


Comments

1author50(1121 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

This article really makes Judge Clunk(er) look like a fool.

Why no theft charges when there was clearly... theft?

Why isnt Venerose in JAIL?

Guess Judge Clunk(er) doesnt want Venerose in jail. I mean how else is he going to pay back everyone if he is in jail?

Suggest removal:

2author50(1121 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

One more item people - Venerose lies and steals in March of 2009. Investigators and others in power know it. In 2010 he gets hired by Queen Theresa Dellick in Juvenile Court. Nobody tells her about his past?

Nice to have friends in County Government isnt it!

Suggest removal:

3davidjohn(144 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

why would a mortgage company

give an 89 year old woman with dementia a reverse mortgage

she wouldnt have gone on her own to get the loan

this venerose must have orchestrated the loan

and what about the loan company

how do they explain this

maybe the sheriff should investigate them as well

did she ever pay back the loan

on top of venerose misusing her loan money

Suggest removal:

4author50(1121 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

@davidjohn

Good point.

It seems investigators in this county at all levels only go to a certain point and then call it a day.

Suggest removal:

5exposed(66 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

There are too many unanswered questions here.

What role do Hunter, Dellick, Swierz, and Traficanti have in his job at Juvenile Court?

As stated above how did this old lady get a loan? Was it a 30 year loan and would pay it back at age 119?

Why did Judge Clunk give this guy 16 years to pay this back? Burke will be 115 years old.

Did Hunter do the legal work for Venrose's bar as well as the power of attorney? Did Mrs. Burke's money finance that bar?

Why does the newspaper do this story and them immediately bury it? Is it embarassing ro their favorite politicos?

author50 and cenosrship are right. Keep digging and see what unravels.

Suggest removal:

6southsidedave(4780 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Greed, a terrible thing.

Suggest removal:


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