A Manteca couple, accused of elder abuse to an 80-year-old aunt and spending up to $1 million of her savings, were found guilty on all counts Thursday afternoon following a month-long jury trial in San Joaquin County Superior Court in Stockton.
Renee and Jerry Woolf Jr. were immediately remanded to the custody of the sheriff by Judge Seth Hoyt, Jr., and their current bail of $50,000 was increased to $500,000 each. Their next court date is set for June 7 at 8:30 a.m. in the Stockton Courthouse.
Woolf, 50, and his wife Renee, 43, were convicted of theft from an elder by a caretaker, fraudulent use of a credit card belonging to their Aunt Rose Souza along with the addition of felonious white collar enhancements – guilty of taking in excess of $500,000.
Renee was also convicted of an associated charge of obstructing a sheriff’s deputy when he was attempting to take her into custody. The jury took nearly three days to reach their verdict.
Irregularities in the aunt’s bank account were first brought to light by bank officials who noticed irregularities taking place – calling authorities’ attention to the depletion of the account that began with over $1 million. The account was reportedly declining by some $300,000 annually over the three years under the Woolf’s management leaving an estimated $5,000.
Assistant District Attorney Cherie Adams said that the couple had taken care of the aunt for some three years in their Lathrop Road home northeast of Manteca after she had been stricken with a stroke.
“There has been over a million that has been in and out of the account,” Adams said.
Numerous checks allegedly had been written against Souza’s account between 2006 and 2009 used in the remodeling of the Woolf home, to purchase appliances and to purchase garage doors for Woolf’s American Garage Door business.
Other purchases reportedly included a pleasure boat, motor vehicles, a home mortgage, a motor home, clothes, trips and college tuition. Family members and friends on both sides of the court proceedings filled the courtroom when the jury’s guilty verdict was announced Thursday.
Souza was reportedly removed from the Woolf home in March of 2010 and moved into an assisted care home before the couple was first charged in the thefts.
The Manteca woman and her late sister had not married and worked throughout their lives banking their savings. Souza’s sister had passed away in 1999 leaving her monies to her sister who had worked for close to 50 years at Sharpe Army Depot.
Renee Woolf took the stand in her own defense and that of her husband for more than a day last week explaining how they had cared for their aunt. During the course of the trial the defense attorney had asked Judge Hoyt for a gag order to be placed on proceedings since the Manteca Bulletin had printed a story on the trial.
The judge immediately declined