April 19, 2014

Medina
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3 accused of stealing elderly woman’s identity

CLEVELAND — A Sharon Township man is among three people scheduled for trial today who are accused of stealing their elderly former neighbor’s identity, which resulted in her losing her home.

Thomas

Gary L. Thomas, 57, of 5450 State Road, and his two co-defendants are charged with a total of 13 counts of identity fraud, which are felonies, ranging from the fifth to second degree.

The other defendants are Richard While Jr., 57, of Cleveland, and Sharon Stucko, 64, of Parma.

The trio is accused of unlawfully transferring debt into Evelyn J. Chudzinski’s name and using her checks without her knowledge between November 2003 and May 2008, according to the Cuyahoga County prosecutor’s office.

Chudzinski lost her home on Finn Avenue in Cleveland and was forced into bankruptcy before she died in 2009 at age 89, according to the prosecutor’s office.

The prosecutor also accused the trio of convincing Chudzinski to purchase an overpriced home that was in disrepair and to obtain a predatory mortgage on her home.

A grand jury indicted Thomas, While and Stucko on June 28.

Thomas is charged with one count of identity fraud, Stucko is charged with four and While is charged with eight.

Contact Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com.