Former Traficant aide accused of stealing from elderly woman’s savings

Linda Kovachik gained notoriety for being a vocal supporter and former aide of then-Valley Congressman Jim Traficant

CANFIELD, Ohio (WYTV) – Canfield Police say a 69-year-old Boardman woman is accused of befriending a woman in her late-80s, who suffers from dementia, and stealing from her life savings.

Linda Kovachik, who gained notoriety for being a staff representative and vocal supporter of then-Valley Congressman Jim Traficant, was led away in handcuffs Tuesday morning, facing a felony charge of theft.

Linda Kovachik, arrested on theft charges
Linda Kovachik

“She was able to get her hands on some savings bonds that the victim’s husband, her late husband, had left her and they were cashed almost immediately,” Detective Brian McGivern said.

Detectives say Kovachik convinced the victim to sign over power of attorney so when a tax bill arrived for the cashed savings bonds, Kovachik gained access to more of the victim’s money to cover up her crime.

“Then she went and cashed some of the annuities to pay for our victim’s income, which she never received. So really she’s a theft victim twice,” McGivern said.

Police say Kovachik took about $105,000 total from her elderly victim over an 18-month period.

Police say she managed to keep the victim away from neighbors and family to avoid suspicion, while convincing the woman she had a background in banking and finance.

“She’d be more than willing to help her with her situation and she kind of really took advantage of her,” McGivern said.

Kovachik is being held at the Mahoning County Jail on a $100,000 bond.

Investigators think she struggles with a gambling addiction. As part of her bond, she will not be allowed to enter a gambling facility.

Upon having her bail set, Kovachik agreed to have a court-appointed lawyer handle her case.

She will have a preliminary hearing scheduled for the end of the month.

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