California Attorney Pleads Guilty of Stealing From Woman’s Estate

Posted on Oct 07, 2013

On Monday, September 23, a disbarred California attorney and a registered nurse both pleaded guilty to charges of stealing $2 million from an elderly woman’s estate. Both parties face maximum sentences of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Among the charges against them are mail and wire fraud and filing of a false tax return.

The victim of the crimes is Juanita Gielarowski. She was reportedly forced to move from her longtime residence into an elderly care facility because of the actions of the defendants. Ms. Gielarowski passed away in July 2010. The registered nurse involved in the case, Brian Ben-Israel, aged 53, won the victim’s trust by acting as her healthcare provider. He also acted as her “financial advisor” and befriended her daughter, Linda Stowers. Ms. Stowers had taken over the administration of her mother’s estate and affairs as her health declined. 

After Mr. Ben-Israel earned the trust of Ms. Gielarowski and Ms. Stowers, he introduced the pair to his friend and business partner, Philip Eric Myers. Mr. Myers is the disbarred Santa Barbara attorney also accused as part of these crimes. Together, the two men gained control over Ms. Gielarowski’s estate. They then used her assets for their own personal use, as well as invested in a corporation headed by Mr. Myers. The corporation in question is based in California and known as Typhoon Security Technology. Neither man disclosed to Ms. Stowers or Ms. Gielarowski that the corporation had been suspended.

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James F. Roberts
Founder and owner of the Law Office of James F. Roberts and Associates, a premiere estate planning law firm