ST. AUGUSTINE, FL - June 1, 2020 - According to an online news report published on STAugustine.com, St. Johns County Sheriff's Office deputies arrested a 50-year-old St. Augustine Beach woman who stole over $56,000 from a critically ill senior citizen. The St. Johns County Sheriff's Office arrest report alleges the woman obtained a power of attorney over the ill man, in which she used to take tens of thousands of dollars out of his bank accounts. The alleged theft occurred from February 2019 to September 2019, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office.
St. Johns County Sheriff's Deputies arrested the 50-year-old woman at her home in St. Augustine Beach, Florida. The suspect was charged with grand theft over $20,000, and exploitation of the elderly. These two crimes are felonies in the second-degree. If the suspect is found guilty of a second-degree felony, she would face a significant fine and receive 15 years in prison. The suspect was able to post bail, and she was released from jail on a $30,000 bail bond.
The arrest report did not disclose the name or address of the victim. However, the news report states that the elderly man moved into his son's home in Tallahassee. The victim moved from California last year.
The news report states that the suspect and the suspect's husband visited the victim in Tallahassee. The suspect's husband is an estate planning attorney in St. Augustine, Florida. The attorney drafted a will for the victim, appointed his wife as power of attorney over the victim's estate, and had the victim sign over his estate to the suspect. The arrest report alleges that the suspect wrote 30 checks to herself out of the victim's checkbook. The total of the checks was over $38,900. Law enforcement subpoenaed the suspect's bank records, and the check amounts matched deposit amounts in the suspect's persona banking account. The report also alleges that the suspect stole four of the victim's cashier's checks that were located inside the victim's home. The suspect then created an Instacart account in which she linked to the bank account of the victim. The suspect charged over $7,650 worth of groceries on the Instacart account, and then the suspect had the groceries delivered to her house.
According to the news report, the victim reported to investigators that he never approved any of the transactions. The victim also stated to law enforcement that he repeatedly demanded the suspect to show him all of his banking records and statements. However, the suspect did not show him his bank statements. The report states that the victim told law enforcement that the suspect had the victim's banking statements delivered to her house instead of his home.
The report alleges that the victims find out about the unapproved withdrawals and expenses, he revoked the suspect's power of attorney and the will. The suspect then retained an attorney who delivered demand letters to the suspect's husband's law firm in St. Augustine, Florida. The report asserts that the couple never turned over the power of attorney or will. According to investigators, the suspect stated, on January 7, that she provided the victim with copies of all the documents a month ago.
According to Sheriff's deputies, the suspect appeared "caught off guard" when she was asked about
Deputies noted she "seemed caught off guard" when the investigators asked her about the stolen cashier's checks. In the report, the suspect claimed that she didn't remember what she used the victim's cashier's checks for. The suspect, according to the report, admitted to writing about $38,000 worth of the victim's checks and that she made the checks out to herself. The suspect states that the sum of money "seemed like an inordinate amount," according to the news report. The report asserts that the suspect stated that she "may have paid herself back" for expenses incurred for trips that she took to visit the victim in California. According to the report, the suspect stated that she told investigators that she used the money to purchase the clothes for the victim and pay caregivers.
Noted in the report, investigators claim the suspect never gave records to justify her expenses.