A couple accused of ripping-off senior citizens in 10 states to the tune of $6 million entered guilty pleas in a San Diego courtroom this week. Michael Woodward, 50 will be sentenced on August 8 to 11 years in state prison and his wife Melissa Woodward, 47, will be sentenced to probation.
The couple operated a fake insurance company offering in-home care service to the elderly. They were originally charged with 11 felony counts including burglary, grand theft, theft from an elder and tax evasion. The couple is ordered to pay more than $3 million dollars in restitution to their victims.
"California Department of Insurance (CDI) investigators led the way in the lengthy and complex investigation that resulted in the arrest and guilty pleas," said Alan Barcelona, president of the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA). CSLEA's members include 7,000 law enforcement, public safety and consumer protection professionals who work for the state of California, including CDI investigators.
Investigators determined the Woodwards scammed 230 San Diego area senior citizens out of nearly $2 million. The Woodwards sold fraudulent in-home, non-medical senior service contracts for things like cooking, cleaning, bathing, dressing, laundry and shopping and then failed to provide the services promised. Inexpensive claims such as requests for housecleaning were often paid, but when victims made claims that were more expensive, the Woodwards rejected those claims. They also allegedly returned to victims' homes to collect additional premiums that were well beyond the original cost of the plan.
"Preying on the elderly, taking their money and stealing their peace of mind, is unconscionable," said Barcelona. "All of the investigators who worked this case deserve a huge thank you."