Housekeeper and husband steal nearly half a million dollars from widow

Disturbing.

BUFORD, GA - After several months of investigation, a couple has been arrested and charged with taking advantage of a widow and her late husband's estate in Gwinnett Co.

On November 17, 2016, a Gwinnett County Police Department Special Victims Unit detective was assigned to an exploitation of an at-risk adult case.

The case was initially reported by the victim's bank because they were suspicious of the widow's caretakers, Ana Zaharia, 34, and her husband Daniel Zaharia, 41.

The bank believed that they were possibly financially exploiting a 64-year-old woman and her late husband's estate. Prior to his death, the widow's husband had been a successful business owner.

A forensic audit was ordered by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Financial Investigations Unit and it was discovered that the Zaharias were diverting significant sums of money, at least half a million dollars, from the victim for their own personal use. 

This had apparently been going on for years.

Ana Zaharia was the widow's housekeeper at the time and was arranging for her family, which included her husband and children, to move into the victim's home.

On July 7, 2017, two detectives visited the victim's home on Anna Ruby Lane in Buford, Ga. When they arrived, they noticed that the widow was on the floor of her bedroom suffering from an apparent fall. She was quickly taken to the local hospital and treated.

After she was taken from the home, both suspects were interviewed. After they were questioned, the detectives followed up with another interview, this time with the victim.

On July 13, detectives placed the Zaharias under arrest and are both charged with exploitation of an at-risk adult, racketeer influenced corrupt organization (RICO), theft by taking and records and reports of currency. 

They were transported to the Gwinnett Co. Jail on Thursday, July 13. They have since bonded out and are not allowed to have any further contact with the victim. 

© 2017 WXIA-TV


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