A Medford couple who operate a foster care home are in jail for allegedly pressuring an elderly woman to pay more than $100,000 for odd jobs done over 15 months, Medford police said.

Mineretta Logoipule Viliamu, 35, and her husband, Saolotoga Viliamu, 41, both of the 2600 block of Stonebrook Drive, Medford, have been lodged in the Jackson County Jail on a numerous theft and criminal mistreatment charges.

Mineretta Viliamu is a licensed foster care provider and the couple operated a foster home at their house. The victim of this alleged theft lived in her own home, however, and occasionally got help from the Viliamus, police said in a news release today.

Police got a report early this month of possible financial exploitation of an elderly Medford woman by the Viliamus, Detective Sgt. Scott Clauson said. A detective from the Medford Police Department's financial investigation section determined that the woman, a widow, had paid the Viliamus more than $100,000 over the last 15 months for a variety of odd jobs around her house. She told the detective that the pair, who had helped care for her husband before he died, had pressured her to pay large sums of money for small jobs. Clauson said that in December alone, she paid the pair $19,000.

Police arrested Minaretta Viliamu on Thursday on two counts of first-degree aggravated theft, two counts of first-degree theft and four counts of first-degree criminal mistreatment. She remains lodged in jail on $50,000 bail today.

Saolotoga Villamu was arrested at the same time on six counts of first-degree aggravated theft and six counts of first-degree criminal mistreatment. He remains lodged in jail on $90,000 bail.
The arrests don't interrupt the operation of the foster care home, Clauson said.

— Anita Burke