Rolled For $70,000, Elderly Woman Says

     LOS ANGELES (CN) – The Tax Help Line and its operators stole nearly $70,000 from a 93-year-old woman they claimed they wanted to help, the elderly woman claims in court.
     Harriette Hahn sued Tax Help Line, Athena Caravageli aka Athene Caravageli and John Fitzgerald, in Superior Court.
     Hahn claims she met with the defendants in October 2011 and they promised “that they would for a reasonable fee render financial planning services, primarily consisting of setting up a living trust, for the benefit of the plaintiff.”
     “Defendants’ representation were false and intentionally so,” Hahn continues in the lawsuit.
     She says she gave them a power of attorney, whereupon without her knowledge or consent, they paid themselves $69,900 from her bank account.”
     The outright theft caused her “great mental suffering including but not limited to agitation and emotional distress and severe depression,” Hahn says in the complaint.
     She would like her $69,900 back, and punitive damages for fraud and elder abuse.
     She is represented by Leonard Amato of Marina del Ray, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
     The Better Business Bureau website lists Tax Help Line LLC of Irvine, Calif. But two of the three numbers it provides are disconnected, and a toll-free number is for an adoption agency in Louisville, Ky.
     The website www.thetaxhelpline.com was listed for sale this morning on GoDaddy.com.

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