NEW HAVEN -- A New Haven firefighter who was arrested last week on charges that he stole $125,000 from an elderly woman was arraigned in court Tuesday.
Kenneth Burgos, 41, faces first-degree larceny and tampering with a witness charges, both felonies. His case was continued until January 13.
The alleged victim, now 95 years old, said Burgos, a New Haven firefighter for 17 years, befriended her after he responded to a call for medical assistance at her home in 2007. Shortly thereafter, he gained her trust and control of her finances for approximately four years. But she says he made many unauthorized withdrawals from her bank accounts.
“If, in fact, this is proving to be true, what a heinous crime to commit against someone who is that old, that defenseless,” said New Haven police spokesman, Officer David Hartman.
In one of her fraud complaints against Burgos, the arrest warrant affidavit says the alleged victim was scared and did not trust Burgos anymore.
The woman said Burgos also took her to an attorney in East Haven and had her sign several pieces of blank paper. She claims the attorney and Burgos told her they were crafting a will for her. But, after she never received a copy to review, she told police, "I'm afraid that Burgos wanted to kill me for my money."
She said he tried to kill her on several occasions to collect the money. She said one time he spilled oil near her stove so that when she turned it on it caught fire. She quickly put it out with baking soda.
When the victim spoke to police, she said Burgos made himself her power of attorney and the will made him the sole beneficiary.
She told police she made it clear to him that he was not allowed to withdraw funds from her accounts.
Several months ago, firefighters were sent to her house on a medical call, and that's when she told the responding firefighters that she met their colleague on a previous call to her home. She told them Burgos gained her trust and eventually took over her finances. She claimed he stole money from her.
The firefighters alerted the fire chief about what they heard and Burgos was placed on paid administrative leave during the investigation.
During the September meeting, she told police that Burgos told her one of her bank accounts was depleted and she would need to make a deposit from another account to cover certain bills. At that point, she gave Burgos permission to withdraw approximately $51,000 from one account. But, she said she couldn't figure out why she would need so much money to cover her bills because she receives approximately $2,000 a month combined from Social Security and a pension fund that were automatically deposited in what Burgos contends was the depleted account.
The arrest warrant affidavit says Burgos claimed he was using much of the money for her groceries, spending money and his own fees for handyman work at her home.
Even though her eyesight was failing, told police she knew something was wrong because she said her bank statements were normally two or three pages and suddenly she was getting more pages, with more line items on them.
She said she viewed her check ledger and found there was a check made out to Burgos for $5,000 which she says she did not give him permission to write.
Burgos’ told police some of the larger withdrawals were as a result of a number of judgments against him for debts he owed. He said debt collectors took funds from the elderly woman’s accounts to cover his judgments. He said he petitioned the collections agencies to refund her money and they did. But Burgos could not supply specific dates or amounts of these transactions.
Upon examining all of her bank statements dated from 2012 to 2015, investigators found that $125,241.46 remains unaccounted for.
“And, it’s shocking that we don't think that were at the end of it yet,” said Hartman.