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Former Phila. City Hall Clerk Sentenced For Stealing Elderly Neighbor's Benefits

By Tony Hanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A former clerk to Philadelphia City Council was sentenced today to four years' probation and ordered to make restitution after admitting she stole Social Security benefits from an elderly neighbor in her care.

Investigators say defendant Nancy Gonzalez and her then-boyfriend, the victim's great-nephew, stole more than $30,000 intended for victim Iris Galarza.  Gonzalez was the victim's Social Security payee.

The 88-year-old victim was left to live in squalor and roam the streets with bags on her feet for shoes.

"And instead of using the money to Miss Galarza's benefit, Miss Gonzalez, along as well with her co-defendant, used the money for their own gain -- to pay their own bills, to go on vacation, and so forth," says Philadelphia prosecutor Michael Bonner.

And Bonner says it was a genuine tragedy:

"It shows a level of depravity that people would take advantage when they are put in positions where they have money and are supposed to care for people."

Gonzalez is now cooperating with authorities.  The case against the co-defendant is pending.

Bonner says the victim, now 92, is living at a different location and getting the money and services she needs.

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