By Zach Patberg
The $250,000 in federal money will go toward new ways to investigate, prosecute and prevent financial exploitation of seniors as well as provide support services for victims, Clinton's office said last Thursday.”Identity theft and financial scams are very serious crimes that threaten all of us, but they are even more serious when they are deliberately targeted at those who are the most vulnerable like our seniors,” Clinton said in a statement.The funding comes in the wake of several incidents in the borough whereby women have conned seniors out of life savings by gaining their sympathy and devotion. Of these “sweethearts,” perhaps the most notorious is Nancy Jace, who was sentenced in 2004 to six months in jail for bilking more than $1 million from nearly a dozen seniors, some of whom were from Forest Hills and Fresh Meadows.Last week the Flushing 39-year-old, who is currently serving probation for defrauding the seniors, was also convicted, along with her husband, of stealing more than $86,000 from a half-dozen landlords around the borough.Another so-called sweetheart, Shirley Miller, of Bayside, was sentenced last month to four months in prison for scamming an 85-year-old, the Queens district attorney's office said.Two similar cases are still pending. Sherry Kaslov was last in court Dec. 19 on grand larceny charges for allegedly stealing around $300,000 from two men in their 80s from Rego Park and Jackson Heights.The other proved much more violent. Liat Corman, of Astoria, is suspected of hiring a man in September 2004 to kill a 78-year-old after she was unable to con the man into selling his South Ozone Park home at a low price, according to the district attorney's office. Corman and the hired man were arraigned Sept. 20, 2004, on murder and robbery charges.”The female defendant is alleged to be what is called a 'sweetheart swindler' who befriends elderly and lonely men, preys on their vulnerability and then seeks to cheat them out of their life savings,” District Attorney Richard Brown said at the time. “It is a crime that unfortunately has been occurring more and more frequently, which in this instance turned violent and cost the victim his life.”With the federal money, Brown said his office will be better able to battle financial crimes like telemarketing scams, identity theft and credit card fraud as well as sweetheart swindles.Reach reporter Zach Patberg at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 718-229-0300, Ext. 155.