A man convicted of threatening an elderly couple into giving him a check for $8,500 before fleeing to Nevada was sentenced Tuesday to nine years in prison, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.
Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Phillip Pennypacker sentenced Tom Lee, 47, after the defendant pleaded guilty in March to charges of theft and attempted theft from an elder, Deputy District Attorney Cherie Bourlard said.
Lee and another man approached the elderly couple in front of their Willow Glen home on Oct. 27, 2010, and Lee offered to repair the cracks on their concrete driveway, Bourlard said.
Lee told the two victims in their 80s with one suffering from Alzheimer’s disease that he would complete the repairs for $100 to $200.
But Lee, after doing a poor job and placing only a small amount of cement in the cracks, demanded $3,000 and when the elderly man wrote him a check, Lee tore it up, Bourlard said.
Lee, accompanied by the other man, then insisted the elderly male victim fill out a new check for $8,500 and then left with the check to cash it while his accomplice stayed behind, Bourlard said.
Lee then used a forged driver’s license from Arizona for identification to cash the check at the elderly man’s bank, Bourlard said.
The elderly man misspelled Lee’s name on the check but the bank cashed it anyway and did not notify the victim or the victim’s family, Bourlard said.
After the elderly couple’s family notified police, Lee tried without success to demand $3,000 more from the couple.
During an investigation by the San Jose Police Department and the district attorney’s office, Lee’s thumbprint was found on the $8,500 check, Bourlard said.
Lee later was located in Nevada, where he allegedly attempted to obtain money from other elderly people, and was extradited to Santa Clara County in July to face the theft charges, Bourlard said
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