Trio accused of taking almost $200,000 from elderly woman in home improvement scam

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By Amanda Klein | September 7, 2018

Pennsylvania State Police have accused a trio of bilking a woman in her 80s out of nearly $200,000 over a five-year period.

The alleged theft was uncovered by the woman’s Power of Attorney who was reviewing the woman’s finances after she was placed in an assisted living facility.

Police allege in court documents that Dannie Cook, 49, Deborah Cook, 63, and Gina Zazac, 56, all from Beaver Falls, bilked the woman for the money by agreeing to perform work on her Slippery Rock home, but never completing the work.

Due to a five-year statute of limitations the Cooks and Zazac can only be charged for thefts totaling $122,000, police said.

The woman wrote most of the checks payable to Mr. Cook, but also wrote checks totaling $40,000 to the two women.

Dannie Cook, who an extensive criminal past for home improvement fraud, according to online court records, promised the woman he would repair her roof, fix her sidewalk and many other projects, but never completed the projects, police say.

Dannie Cook faces charges of theft by deception, deceptive or fraudulent business practices, and receiving advance payment for services he did not perform.

Deborah Cook and Gina Zazac face charges of criminal conspiracy for theft by deception, deceptive or fraudulent business practices, and receiving advance payment for services not performed.

Mr. Cook waived his right to a preliminary hearing. A preliminary hearing for both women is scheduled for Sept. 26.

Amanda Klein can be contacted at amanda.klein@grantstreetnews.com

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