UPDATE, MAY 5, 6:52 P.M.: Caretaker Norma Ruth Casini pleaded guilty to stealing more than $642,000 from multiple elderly victims,
including taking $610,000 from an 85-year-old woman to spend on
shopping, travel and a “dog whisperer.”
The 51-year-old Laguna
Niguel resident was sentenced to 13 years in state
prison and ordered to pay $642,000 in restitution and more than $1.2 million in fines.
The sentences for Casini's husband and daughter are after the jump . . .
Leno Casini, 57, of Laguna Niguel, pleaded guilty
today to one felony count each of accessory after the fact, receiving
stolen property, and second degree burglary. He was sentenced to one
year in jail and three years of formal probation.
Daughter Anastasia Darlena Mendezkestler, 23, of Laguna Niguel, copped to one felony count of receiving
stolen property. She was sentenced to 93 days in jail, for which she
received credit for time served, and three years of formal probation.
Mama C. pleaded guilty to three felony counts of caretaker theft from an
elder and one felony count of residential burglary of an occupied home
with sentencing enhancements for loss over $100,000, property loss over
$200,000, white collar crime over $500,000, and having a non-accomplice
UPDATE, MARCH 4, 6:01 P.M.: Are the Casinis a family of gypsies–the thieving kind Borat warned us about?
Because now the daughter of alleged sticky-fingered caretaker to the elderly Norma Casini and her husband the accused fence Leno Casini is up on charges related to the caper.
Mendezkestler, 22, of Laguna Niguel, was arrested today on suspicion of stealing money from
elderly victims to pay for her divorce, new tires and other goods.
Since much of the Orange County District Attorney's Office statement on Mendezkestler's Monday arraignment repeats the case against her mother and father, we'll just key in on the parts that concern the daughter:
- Between June 2010 and January 2011, Mendezkestler is accused of receiving stolen money from Norma Casini and depositing the money in her personal bank accounts. She is accused of using the stolen money to pay for her divorce, medical insurance, dental work, pets, toys, furniture and electronics.
- On July 9, 2010, Mendezkestler is accused of being in possession of one female victim's credit cards and using it to purchase tires for her car at Tucker Tire in Laguna Niguel.
- On July 31, 2010, she is accused of using the same card to purchase a high-end Nikon camera at OC Camera in Mission Viejo.
After her arrest by Orange County sheriff's detectives today, she was charged by the OCDA with two felony counts each of accessory after the fact
and receiving stolen property, second degree commercial burglary,
fraudulently using an access card, and sentencing enhancements for loss
over $100,000, property loss over $200,000, and white collar crime over
$500,000. Mendezkestler could get up to 12 years in state prison if convicted of all that.
Anyone know if the ladies pen has a gypsy section?
UPDATE, FEB. 22, 5:33 P.M.: Prosecutors today charged Leno Casini in the caregiver theft case that has already led to charges against the 56-year-old Laguna Niguel resident's wife.
The husband is now charged with two felony counts each of accessory after
the fact and receiving stolen property and one felony count of second
The administrative assistant with the Los Angeles public defender's office could get up to 12 years in state prison if convicted.
The Orange County district attorney's office also filed additional charges against Norma Ruth Casini now that new victims have come forward as a result of media coverage of the couple's arrests, which has included photos of the stolen loot. She is now charged with 34 felony counts of fraudulently using an access card, 24 felony counts of forgery, two felony counts of caretaker theft from an elder, one felony count of residential burglary of an occupied home, and sentencing enhancements for loss of more than $100,000, property loss of more than $200,000, white-collar crime of more than $500,000, and having a non-accomplice present.
If convicted of all counts, she could spend 49 years and eight months in prison.
The couple remain in custody on $610,000 bail, which they can only make if they can prove the money came from a legal and legitimate source. They are scheduled to attend a pretrial hearing in Newport Beach on March 15.
UPDATE, FEB. 18, 12:31 P.M.: Following news reports that in-home caretaker Norma Ruth Casini had been arrested for allegedly siphoning $610,000 from an 85-year-old female client–and spending the stolen loot on travel, concerts, shopping, doggie daycare, orthodontic work, laser eye
treatment, home lease payments and the services of a "dog whisperer”–more victims came forward to say Casini ripped them off.
On Thursday, the 51-year-old Laguna Niguel resident's husband was arrested after he was linked to stolen engagement and wedding rings from a woman's 62-year marriage.
Orange County sheriff's deputies found the rings in a pawn shop and linked them back to Leno Casini, who was arrested at the Los Angeles Public Defender's Office in Santa Fe Springs, where he works as a department assistant, on suspicion of burglary and receiving stolen property.
Authorities believe there are other victims of the couple out there, and have asked anyone with information to call 866.TIP.OCSD or 866.847.6273.
ORIGINAL POST, FEB. 3, 1:33 P.M.: An in-home caretaker is accused of siphoning $610,000 from an 85-year-old woman over two and a half years and spending the stolen loot on travel, concerts, shopping, doggie daycare, orthodontic work, laser eye
treatment, home lease payments and the services of a "dog whisperer.” Norma Ruth Casini, 51, of Laguna Niguel, could get up to 49 years and eight months in state prison if convicted of all the counts against her.
These include 34 felony counts
of fraudulently using an access card, 24 felony counts of forgery, and one
felony count of caretaker theft from an elder.
She also faces sentencing
enhancements for loss of more than $100,000, property loss of more than $200,000, and
white-collar crime of more than $500,000.
According to prosecutors, Casini also ripped off her employers.
She apparently was not on the job during her paid shift. That's why she was fired by LivHOME in-home care in March 2009.
That prompted company officials to look back at the 85-year-old client's bank accounts. They discovered her savings had been depleted from $700,000 in June 2008 to less than $5,000 in April 2009 through unauthorized withdrawals and credit-card use.
The victim, who has no family to care for her, required 24-hour assistance in her Laguna Woods home beginning in 2002. Casini had performed those duties since November 2006.
She is scheduled to be arraigned Friday morning. The Orange County district attorney's office statement on the Casini case follows on the next page . . .
February 3, 2011
CARETAKER CHARGED WITH STEALING $610,000 FROM 85-YEAR-OLD VICTIM AND SPENDING MONEY ON PERSONAL EXPENSES INCLUDING SHOPPING, TRAVEL, AND A "DOG WHISPERER”
SANTA ANA – An in-home caretaker will be arraigned tomorrow on charges of stealing approximately $610,000 from an 85-year-old woman and using the stolen money for personal purchases. Norma Ruth Casini, 51, Laguna Niguel, is charged with 34 felony counts of fraudulently using an access card, 24 felony counts of forgery, one felony count of caretaker theft from an elder, and sentencing enhancements for loss over $100,000, property loss over $200,000, and white collar crime over $500,000. If convicted of all counts, Casini faces a maximum sentence of 49 years and eight months in state prison. The defendant is in custody on $610,000 bail and must prove the money is from a legal and legitimate source before posting bond. She is expected to be arraigned tomorrow, Friday, Feb. 4, 2011, at 10:00 a.m. in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.
Victim Nancy W., 85, has required 24-hour in-home care in her Laguna Woods home since 2002. The victim has no family support and hired a caregiver service, LivHOME, to provide for her needs and basic care. LivHOME caregivers are paid by the company and are not to accept money directly from their client.
Casini was employed by LivHOME and is accused of being entrusted to care for Nancy W. from November 2006 to March 2009. Without the knowledge or permission of the victim, Casini is accused of stealing approximately $610,000 from Nancy W.'s bank accounts and credit cards for personal use. Casini is accused of using the stolen money to pay for her home lease, dog day care and a "dog whisperer,” orthodontic work, laser eye treatment, shopping, concerts, travel, and other personal items.
In March 2009, Casini was terminated by LivHOME after the company determined that the defendant was not in Nancy W.'s home during her shift. A subsequent review of the victim's bank accounts revealed that her saving had been depleted from over $700,000 in June 2008 to less than $5,000 in April 2009.
The Orange County Public Guardian filed a conservator action to protect the victim and take control of her care. The Orange County Sheriff's Department investigated the case arrested Casini yesterday, Feb. 2, 2011.
Deputy District Attorney Marc Labreche of the Major Fraud Unit is prosecuting this case.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before "graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.