COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — A chaplain who once was convicted of murder is now facing charges of swindling nearly $70,000 from an elderly congregant who can't read or write.
Authorities allege Enrique Borges, 50, was working as a chaplain at Eagles of God church, 1132 N. Spaulding Ave., when an 84-year-old man came in looking for help.
The Humboldt Park man — who only speaks Spanish and can't read or write — told a pastor he was afraid his neighbors would steal his money, Assistant State's Attorney Lorraine Scaduto said in court last week.
The pastor then connected the victim with Borges, who wore a chaplain badge every time the pair met, Scaduto said.
In early January, the elderly man gave Borges power of attorney, prosecutors said, and issued him two cashier's checks totaling nearly $100,000.
Borges then brought the victim to a Chase branch and opened a joint account, police said. According to Scaduto, Borges told bank employees he was the man's son-in-law and English interpreter.
The victim had no idea that Borges added himself to the account, police said, and didn't authorize Borges' actions.
On Jan. 29, Borges transferred $12,390 to his own personal bank account, according to a police report. On Feb. 3, he transferred an additional $55,000, the report said.
Police said Borges made $499.34 worth of purchases on the victim's debit card, and withdrew $3,860 of the victim's money.
The victim realized what had happened on Feb. 4 when he visited the bank, Scaduto said. Accounts were frozen on Feb. 6 and Borges was arrested at Chase, 7180 W. Grand Ave., on Tuesday.
Scaduto said Borges was carrying the victim's credit card and personal documents, and he admitted to opening the account and transferring money.
Borges, of the 2800 block of North Mobile Avenue in Belmont Cragin, was charged with identity theft and financial exploitation of the elderly.
Borges was previously convicted in a 1982 gang-related murder and sentenced to 30 years in prison.
On Sunday, Eagles of God Pastor Alberto Arias defended Borges.
He told DNAinfo Chicago that the 84-year-old man came in early January asking for help. According to Arias, the man told the pastor that people "were attempting to kill him and steal his money."
"In my humble opinion, I thought he was a bit paranoid," Arias said.
The man, who briefly lived in the church facility in the 1980s, returned for assistance, and although Arias recommended he look into assisted living facilities due to his declining health, he allowed the man to stay in the church, Arias said.
During that time, Borges, who was the assistant director of chaplains, helped the man move into the church, and took him to doctor's appointments and running errands, Arias said.
Arias said the man asked Borges to add his name to the bank account. Arias cautioned Borges against it.
"I don't like that idea," Arias recalled saying, reminding Borges of the man's constant fear of having his money stolen. "Be careful, be careful, be careful."
Despite his warnings, Borges agreed to have his name added to the account, Arias said.
After hearing about the arrest, Arias was still surprised.
"I warned [Borges], this man is difficult and needed attention and constant care," Arias said. "But [Borges] felt bad and wanted to help."
If any money was spent, it was all spent on the 84-year-old man to buy clothing, food and a bed, Arias added.
"Borges is a good man with good intentions," Arias said. "I feel sorry for him."
Cook County Judge Laura Sullivan on Thursday ordered Borges held in lieu of $100,000 bail.
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