Terryville women charged with stealing $617,000 from New Haven senior

Mary Jeannine Benedetto and Sandra Pelkey

NEW HAVEN — Two women were charged in connection with money stolen from a senior citizen’s bank account.

Police said Sandra Pelkey, 71, of Terryville is accused of stealing  $22,712.66 from a senior citizen’s bank account. In a separate warrant, police charged Mary Jeannine Benedetto, 60, also of Terryville, stole $594,960.71 from the same woman. Both were charged with larceny in the first degree and conspiracy to commit larceny in the first degree.

Police said the pair was charged with crimes committed in the past five years due to the statute of limitations. They believe the total sum stolen amounted to over $800,000.

Official said the victim died April 5.

Police started their investigation after the 73-year-old victim’s financial adviser  flagged her accounts for suspicious activity. They believe the suspects gave the victim, who had a drinking problem, alcohol in order to confuse her. The suspects also changed the locks on the victim’s home, . Police believe the suspects purchased a BMW with the victim’s money and resold it for cash.

Money from an elderly man in West Haven had been deposited in the victim’s account. When detectives spoke to the man, he said the suspect’s may have also stolen money from the sale of a deceased relative’s property.  The West Haven man has not filed charges according to New Haven police.

Police believe the suspects lost $767,000 at Mohegan Sun over the years.