Woman sentenced to 4 years in prison for faking cancer to steal from at-risk elderly man

GOLDEN, Colo. — A 50-year-old Monument woman was sentenced to four years in prison for bilking an elderly Westminster man out of more than $69,000.

Nahid “Venus” Moshrefi was convicted in July of theft of an at-risk elder and criminal exploitation of an at-risk elder. It deliberated four hours after a four-day trial before returning the verdicts on July 24.

She had faced up to 24 years in prison.

Moshrefi met 80-year-old William Maruca on the Live Links dating service.

The two began dating in 2013. Eventually, she told him she had cancer. Moshrefi testified before the jury that she did not have cancer.

The jury heard testimony from two employees from a FirstBank branch where the victim had an account.

Officials had called the Westminster Police Department, which kick-started a mandatory report of suspected elder abuse.

The employees told the jury that the victim had written multiple checks to Moshrefi for large sums of money.

When police contacted Maruca, he told them he paid for Moshrefi’s doctor visits and treatment.

He said Moshrefi told him that without treatments, she had five or six months to live.

Maruca said he was convinced Moshrefi had cancer because of the pain she appeared to be suffering.

He also said their relationship was kept secret because it was against her religion to be with a white man when she is unmarried.

Moshrefi’s husband testified that they had been married for 13 years.

Moshrefi owns Holistic Healing Health in Colorado Springs, and advertises herself as Dr. Venus K. Moshrefi.

On cross-examination, she said she is not a licensed medical doctor in Colorado.

Maruca’s cousin testified that Moshrefi had prescribed more than 36 supplements for him costing more than $80,000.

Maruca paid for trips to California, Hawaii and Australia for Moshrefi. She told him that she had family in Australia that she would never see again because she was dying. He also bought Moshrefi a car.