Woman accused of stealing money from elderly aunt with dementia agrees to plea deal, repayment-

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – A Grand Rapids woman police say drained the bank account of her 88-year-old aunt faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison after pleading no contest to a charge of embezzlement from a vulnerable adult.

Patricia Elaine Licari, 62, was set to have a trial Monday, Sept. 8, but instead pleaded no contest to a reduced charge that cut the potential maximum in half and has her agreeing to repay $25,000 to the estate of her late aunt Esther Nadalski.

Nadalski died April 7, less than a week before Grand Rapids Police detectives filed charges against the niece.

According to police, Nadalski had given Licari control over her bank account at Lake Michigan Credit Union years earlier because the elderly woman was struggling with dementia.

Over the course of time when Licari controlled the accounts, police say there is no accounting for some $75,000 in the account.

Licari was charged with a 15-year felony account of embezzlement from a vulnerable adult, but Monday pleaded guilty to the lesser charge with the agreement that restitution would not exceed $25,000.

About 10 years ago, the embezzlement penalties were changed by the state legislature to feature increased penalties for stealing from vulnerable adults.