New details are emerging relating to the death of Violet Evelyn Alberts, the 96-year-old Montecito woman found dead in her Park Lane home on May 27. According to her attorney at the time — Alfonso Arturo Flores — Alberts was killed by asphyxiation and had reportedly put up a fight. The consequences of that struggle made it evident that her death was not accidental or due to natural causes.
According to Flores, detectives were able to extract four separate DNA samples; two of those, he said, belonged to caregivers who tended to Alberts, who lived alone in her home. No next of kin have been found to notify either. No matches have reportedly been found. Investigators with the Sheriff’s Office have declined to discuss details of the case on the grounds it remains the subject of an ongoing investigation.
At the time of Alberts’s murder, she was engaged in litigation with a Porter Ranch real estate speculator named Pauline Macareno, who Flores charged had forged his client’s name on a title transfer on her Montecito home, valued anywhere from $4 to $11 million. It was Flores who reportedly blew the whistle on Macareno in March 2022. He was representing another client at the time in another county who was suing Macareno on real estate fraud charges. Flores’s investigator reportedly stumbled onto Macareno’s transaction with Alberts, and Alberts, he said, hired him. Flores charged that the signature on the deed documents that Macareno submitted to Santa Barbara’s clerk recorder did not match Alberts’s actual signature.
Macareno is currently being held in Santa Barbara County Jail on a no-bail hold, facing charges of elder abuse, real estate fraud, identity theft, and embezzlement, among other things.
According to Flores, Alberts had outlived her income and had run out of money in fall 2020. It was then she came to the attention of Macareno, who bought and sold real estate. According to recent documents submitted by the Santa Barbara prosecuting attorney Casey Nelson, Macareno had the property appraised in September 2020 and within a few weeks had a new deed of trust recorded under a different name. According to recently filed court documents, Macareno “caused” a check of $217,000 to be sent to Alberts and was recorded by the county clerk-recorder on October 15, 2020. This scheme came to the attention of county prosecutors and investigators in March 2022, just a few months before Alberts was found killed.