Charges filed in fraud case involving 79-year-old woman

A woman who worked as a senior care provider faces charges for defrauding and stealing thousands of dollars from a 79-year-old woman she was supposed to help in 2023.

On Monday, a Hamilton County grand jury indicted Brenda Cowden, 54, on 10 counts, including telecommunications fraud, forgery, theft and identity fraud.

Cowden is accused of using her position to gain the trust of the 79-year-old woman — who lived alone, without family or close friends — and eventually gain access to her bank accounts, according to the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office.

Cowden was assigned as a social worker to help the woman find an aged care facility when she could no longer live safely at home. It was during this time that Cowden took advantage of the victim’s finances, according to prosecutors.

In total, the victim was robbed of $13,400, prosecutors say, and Cowden had access to $1 million of the victim’s money before GE Credit Union investigators froze those accounts. Sharonville police then conducted an investigation which led to his charges.

Information about Cowden’s attorney was not available Monday afternoon.

Chronology of the accusations, according to the prosecution:

  • In February 2023, while the victim was hospitalized, Cowden convinced her to sign a power of attorney that gave Cowden control of the woman’s finances. This also gave him the right to receive remuneration for his services.

  • Days after obtaining the power of attorney, Cowden accessed the elderly woman’s accounts and changed them to name himself a “Payable on Death” beneficiary.

  • Over the next several months, large sums of money were transferred from a PNC account to a GE Credit Union account.

  • In October 2023, Cowden named herself as a co-owner of this GE Credit Union account, giving her access to all of the victim’s money. This violated the scope of the power of attorney, prosecutors say.

If convicted on all counts, Cowden faces a maximum sentence of 61 years in prison. His next court date was not…

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