YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A one-time aide to former Valley Congressman Jim Traficant now has until Monday to report to jail after being sentenced on a theft charge.
Linda Kovachik, 70, needed a walker Tuesday to stand before the judge in court where she was ordered to spend two years behind bars.
Kovachik pleaded guilty in November to stealing money from cashed savings bonds and other items from an elderly woman in Canfield who suffers from dementia.
The victim’s daughter, Laura Summer, told the judge Kovachik befriended her mother and then took advantage of the woman for her own personal gain. She spoke on her mother’s behalf Tuesday.
“Eighty years old and she cries every single day. Sadly, you robbed my mom not only of her life savings but more importantly, you robbed her of all her dignity,” Summer said.
Canfield police arrested Kovachik last spring. They say she befriended the victim but eventually convinced the woman to grant her power of attorney. In court Tuesday, the judge said Kovachik took at least $100,000 from her victim.
Summer called this a case of elder abuse and asked for the maximum sentence.
“I hope you are prepared to meet your maker and attest for your sins,” Summer said.
Kovachik showed a bit of contrition before the judge. She apologized for the theft and said she used the money to pay for gambling losses.
“Judge, I’m very sorry. When you are down and out, you just think you’ll win some more and pay it back,” Kovachik said.
Kovachik asked for probation but Judge Anthony D’Apolito called her an opportunist who exploited the victim’s friendship for her own gain before sentencing her to two years behind bars.