By Rick Sallinger
GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4)– A man who was allegedly bilked out of at least $40,000 by a woman who claimed to have cancer wants the case dropped.
She goes by the name Dr. Venus Moshrefi. The man is Bill Maruka of Westminster. The two met through a dating website.
The alleged victim accompanied his alleged bilker to court with his arm around her. She wasn’t talking when CBS4 investigator Rick Sallinger asked her if she had cancer.
This all began when a bank reported thousands of dollars in checks being written from the 79-year-old’s account to the woman.
Court papers maintain Maruka told investigators she had told him she was dying of cancer. He then gave her money for treatments. But he wants nothing to do with this prosecution.
Mark Mayberry is the attorney representing both the defendant and named victim in this case.
“The situation is Mr. Maruka has done everything he possibly he can to get the investigator to leave him alone, leave them alone,” said Mayberry.
At Jefferson County Court the two showed signs of affection. Maruka held hands with Moshrefi and held her hand.
Her website claims she is a holistic doctor in Colorado Springs. Court documents claim she has been married to another man for 13 years who knew nothing about her being ill even though they live together.
Jefferson County District Attorney Pete Weir says he is not dropping the charges.
“It’s not unusual, particularly for an older victim who has developed a bond with a person that is scamming them,” said Weir.
Besides the bank, a therapist for Maruka said he had spoken during sessions of giving large sums of money to Moshrefi.
And that is what he maintains Moshrefi did with the man who still stands by her.
Prosecutors have formed a special unit in the First Judicial District Attorney’s office to deal with
allegations of what is termed elder abuse.
A relatively new law in Colorado requires reporting of suspected elder abuse by banks, therapists and others in a position to spot it.