HAZLETON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A 93-year-old Luzerne County woman was nearly homeless after the police saw a man, who was supposed to be her caretaker, sold her house behind her back.
35-year-old Jeremy Cieniawa is locked up Wednesday night, facing a slew of charges in connection with the alleged scam.
Investigators say Cieniawa was a smooth talker and that he allegedly took care of himself and not the 93-year-old woman he was supposed to be helping.
Hazleton police say Jeremy Cieniawa gained the trust of a 93-year-old woman and then took advantage of that trust to sell her own home without her knowledge.
Investigators also say that Cieniawa did not purchase medications for the woman for almost a year. The woman is now staying with family and 28/22 News did try to contact her family this far without success you can read the entire criminal complaint on our website.
According to an arrest affidavit, Cieniawa moved into the woman’s Hazleton home two years ago to do repair and remodeling work.
Read the entire criminal complaint below:
The family agreed to let him live there rent-free in exchange for him taking care of the woman. Who is now 94 years old, according to that criminal complaint Cieniawa, posing as her nephew, sold the home in October of 2022 for $77,000.
At the time of the sale, he was not living with the victim. Detectives say he then showed up at the house in November of 2022. Telling her he sold the home and she had to move out within several days. That they would use that money to buy another home.
But, according to bank records. He spent all but $4,000 of the proceeds from the sale on himself.
“Senior citizens are very susceptible to situations like this,” said Attorney Tom Marsilio, the former prosecutor.
Attorney Tom Marsillio is a former federal, state, and county prosecutor. He says he’s seen similar cases in which the perpetrator not only gains the trust of the victim. But also the entire family.
“Other family members have to keep an eye on situations like this. Somebody moves in so who is that individual what is that individual’s background etc,” added Marsilio.
But even if the family was vigilante cries like this can still occur but he says all may not be lost.
The Sellers family can go to court and have this transaction undone. Have it invalidated because it was done fraudulently,” continued Marsilio.
Investigators also say that Cieniawa did not purchase medications for the woman for almost a year.
The woman is now staying with family, 28/22 News did try to contact her family thus far without success.