Women Say Caregiver Swindled Dad’s Estate

     (CN) – A former in-home nurse took advantage of an elderly man, exploiting more than a million dollars in cash and building a home with his money, the man’s daughters claim in court.
     Denise Litsky and Eileen Siner sued Marika Bucko and Henry Handler in Palm Beach County, Fla. court last week. Litsky and Siner are the daughters of Benjamin Ossman, according to the complaint.
     Ossman “was a successful businessman who accrued many millions of dollars over the course of his lifetime,” the complaint states. Handler was his attorney and trustee.
     Litsky and Siner say they sought in-home care for their father after he fell multiple times and showed signs of irrational behavior. They hired Boca Nursing Services in 2008, and Bucko was sent as Ossman’s health care aide, according to the complaint.
     “Bucko, who was 40 years younger than Mr. Ossman, immediately seized upon Mr. Ossman’s vulnerabilities, and within the first month as Mr. Ossman’s paid caregiver, Bucko began performing sexual acts on Mr. Ossman, showered with him, and laid in his bed,” the complaint states. “Only two months after walking into Mr. Ossman’s house as a paid professional caregiver, Bucko had persuaded Mr. Ossman to purchase her a brand new $34,500 BMW automobile and to pay $15,000 for her to have her teeth fixed.”
     Boca Nursing Services, which is not named as a defendant, fired Bucko in late 2008 for her exploitative behavior, according to the lawsuit. However, Bucko convinced Ossman to hire her privately and she interjected herself into his life, Litsky and Siner claim.
     “As she took control over every area of Mr. Ossman’s life, Bucko was able to exploit over $1,100,000.00 in traceable cash (checks) from Mr. Ossman in one year,” the complaint states. “Through her controlling actions, Bucko seized upon Mr. Ossman’s vulnerabilities and brainwashed him through fear and intimidation. On numerous occasions, plaintiffs and other family members witnessed Bucko whispering into Mr. Ossman’s ear, and he always looked frightened at what she said.”
     In 2009, Bucko had Handler set up a limited liability company to fund the building of a new home for her, according to the complaint. Ossman and Bucko then got married in 2010 and his estate plan was changed before his death at age 94, his daughters claim.
     “The evidence suggests that from mid-2008 until Mr. Ossman’s death in 2014, Bucko undertook a campaign to thwart Mr. Ossman’s estate plan that provided for his only children. Bucko took these actions knowing that Mr. Ossman was in a vulnerable and weakened state, both physically and mentally, and in knowing and intentional contravention of Mr. Ossman’s wishes set forth in both his 2008 will and 2008 revocable trust,” the lawsuit states. “Plaintiffs do not yet know the full magnitude of defendants’ destruction, as the 2008 revocable trust and the estate have not yet been administered, so no accountings or inventories have been provided to plaintiffs.”
     Litsky and Siner’s legal claims against Bucko include interference with an expectancy of inheritance, undue influence, conversion, and exploitation of a vulnerable adult. They seek an accounting from Handler of the revocable trust’s assets and other relevant information. They are represented by Christine Robbins of Akerman LLP in West Palm Beach, Fla.
     Bucko could not be reached for comment.

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