BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. – A 96-year-old Bloomfield Township man had his home taken away by an employee he met at a senior center.
Criminal charges in the case have been issued against the 71-year-old woman who was working at the Bloomfield Township Senior Center, and a civil case has been filed to regain his home Tuesday (Feb. 7).
Peter Katapodis, 96, never saw it coming.
“I thought we were friends,” said Katapodis.
That so-called friend has now been charged with embezzlement. Because she has been charged but not arraigned yet, Local 4 is not naming her at this point.
“There is no question this was a grooming relationship,” said attorney Jonathan Marko. “You know you see this with pedophiles,”
She befriended Katapodis at the senior center, helped him run errands, invited him out to dinner with her husband, and would stop by with soup and salad.
The 71-year-old woman found out Katapodis lived alone and had no children. After a while, she asked if he had a will or an estate plan. He didn’t, so she took him to her attorney.
“There was a lady who kept walking in and out of the room with papers, a lot of papers,” Katapodis said. “I felt secure enough, and I just kept signing. I know it’s ridiculous, but I can hardly believe I’m saying this, but I kept signing my name.”
Those papers were, among other things, a quit claim deed. She got his home estimated between $300,000-$365,000 for $1. He had no idea what was happening and didn’t until a family friend stopped by and saw the pile of papers.
“In the beginning, Peter had no idea how deep this really was,” Marko said. “He trusted this person.”
Trying to untangle the mess has been daunting. Marko and attorney Brett Baccari are going after her civilly while the Bloomfield Township police and Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office pursue felony charges.
Our call to the Bloomfield Township Senior Center was not returned, but Marko says she has been let go. Katapodis, for his part, doesn’t blame the senior center.
“I don’t blame the center for the actions of these two people,” Katapodis said.