Police: Woman sentenced for stealing $53K from 96-year-old

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By Melanie Lekocevic

Capital Region Independent Media

BETHLEHEM — A South Bethlehem woman has been sentenced to one and a half to three years in prison for stealing $53,121.86 from a 96-year-old Selkirk man, Bethlehem Police said Wednesday.

Denise Houghtaling, 50, was arrested in October 2020 after the man’s family contacted Bethlehem Police upon reviewing the victim’s estate.

The man, whose name has not been released, died in February 2019. Houghtaling was the man’s caretaker, according to police.

The family contacted law enforcement Sept. 14, 2020, and Houghtaling was arrested Oct. 20, 2020.

“An investigation was conducted and revealed that $53,121.86 had been stolen from the victim’s accounts by Houghtaling, who was a caretaker for the victim prior to his death,” police said in a statement.

Houghtaling was charged with felony counts of second-degree grand larceny as a hate crime, first-degree identity theft, and first-degree falsifying business records. The grand larceny charge was filed as a hate crime because Houghtaling specifically targeted an elderly victim, police said.

Anyone who may have used Houghtaling’s services and has concerns should contact Bethlehem Police at 518-439-9973.

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