Mesa caregiver, Tania Mafuta, scams elderly woman, sells home out from under her, police say

Posted at 2:35 PM, Jul 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-19 00:13:53-04

A Mesa caregiver is accused of stealing an elderly woman's home.

Court records show that 42-year-old Tania Kitshiabi Mafuta facilitated the sale of the victim’s home by having the deed fraudulently signed and the house sold. She reportedly took all the proceeds of the sale, which was over $162,000.

Mesa police said that the elderly victim and her daughter were co-owners of the home near Recker Road and University Drive. Mafuta had an unknown person forge the name of the daughter on a “quick claim deed," giving full control of the house to the elderly mother, who does not have the mental capacity to make meaningful financial decisions.

The victim sold the house in May for $164,112, with the idea that Mafuta would invest the money. Instead, police say, Mafuta gave $64,000 to her ex-husband, $30,000 to her daughter, withdrew another $20,000 in cash and used a majority of the remaining funds for her personal use.

"You don't rip people off like that," said neighbor Chuck Roy. 

 "She was just taking people for their work, which a lot of people do. You know, there's nothing really wrong with that, just some people just never know," said Roy.

Mafuta was arrested on July 12 after returning from the Republic of Congo, where she is a citizen. 

A longtime friend of Mafuta, 52-year-old Melissa Denise Jenkins-Simon, was also arrested. She is accused of notarizing the quick claim deed, police said. She has been charged with fraudulent schemes and theft.

Mafuta has been charged with fraudulent schemes, theft and money laundering.