SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

May 8, 2014

Aide admits stealing from elderly relative

Great-niece forged checks, took money and jewelry to feed drug habit

SALEM — Gina Wright not only stole her great-aunt’s jewelry, money and her sense of security, a judge said yesterday.

Wright, 28, also “probably destroyed” the relationship between the elderly woman and Wright’s mother and grandmother, Judge Michael Lauranzano told Wright yesterday.

“There’s nothing worse than what you did,” said the Salem District Court judge during a hearing yesterday in which Wright pleaded guilty to larceny, forgery and theft charges and was sentenced to two years of probation.

Her friend, Holly Szczechowicz, 21, admitted to cashing forged checks and pawning some of the victim’s jewelry. Her charges were continued without a finding for two years and will be dismissed if she stays out of further trouble.

Click here for tips on avoiding elder fraud from the state Attorney General's Office

Wright, who is also known by her maiden name, Mazzetti, of 20 Jordan St., Beverly, was hired last summer as a home health aide for the then-82-year-old Salem woman, on the recommendation of Wright’s grandmother.

“Her grandmother had told me what a good person she was,” said the victim yesterday during an impact statement in court. “That’s why I hired her.”

“It worked only for a few weeks, till I found out things were missing,” the woman added.

Her jewelry box had been looted, just a coin left, when she looked inside last August.

“She fleeced me blind,” said the woman, who is now 83.

Prosecutor Alex Grimes suggested jail time for Wright, who was awaiting trial in a heroin case when she was charged last September and who is also on probation in an unrelated case. The drug charges were later dropped after her attorney argued that she hadn’t been given her Miranda warning.

“She had this woman’s trust, and she used it to steal from her,” Grimes argued.

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