ROCKFORD (WIFR) – A Rockford couple is in jail tonight after investigators say they scammed an 89-year-old woman out of tens of thousands of dollars.
Gary and Kathleen Peterson, both of Rockford have been arrested for what prosecutors detailed as years of exploitation and conspiracy to continue to exploit Miriam Nyman, a woman they’ve known since the 1990’s.
The 22-count indictment alleges the two directly withdrew money out of the victim’s bank accounts and forged checks in her name, direct depositing them into their own accounts over a span of four year, stealing more than 50,000.
The Petersons are facing charges for financially exploiting the elderly, conspiring to commit that exploitation and finally, felony theft.
State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato says crimes against vulnerable people are unacceptable.
“It is simply unacceptable for those in our community that have worked their lives, that are living in their golden years and that they are to be the victims or preyed upon in schemes or scams of any nature,” said Bruscato.
Bruscato tells us his office’s new “At Risk Adult” unit is working this case. They protect the elderly and disabled people. He tells us Gary Peterson was a licensed investor and financial advisor in the Rockford area in the past but had his license suspended in 2012.
Prosecutors are searching for other potential victims. We’re asked to call Rockford Police with any information. The Petersons are being held on a $1.5 million bond and are due in court on June 25.