(Rocky River) - Two people have been indicted by a Cuyahoga County Grand Jury on charges they stole over $800,000 from the bank accounts of an elderly relative.
Rocky River Police say it started with a call from a retirement home. Police found out that family members of a 94-year-old resident of that retirement home had been taking money from his bank accounts, and his bills were not being paid.
The investigation determined that Lori and Patrick Smith (the victim's niece and her husband), who had powers of attorney for the victim, handled all the victim's finances, and he even signed over his house to them. Police say Lori Smith consolidated all the victim's funds to one bank, then she and her husband started to spend the money, including purchases through Amazon, and at Costco, Giant Eagle, Lowe's, QVC, and also on Cleveland Browns season tickets and tickets for the NBA Finals. They also bought a vehicle, a camping trailer, and a boat, and also remodeled the home the victim had given to them.
Police say they were contacted by the retirement home when the victim had less than $5 left in his bank account, and the bill for the retirement home was not being paid. The victim was able to revoke the Smiths' access to his accounts, and set up new accounts for his VA and Social Security benefits. Cuyahoga County Adult Protective Services is assisting.
The Smiths are charged with theft, identity fraud, and forgery. Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O'Malley said, “This couple took advantage of a loving family member and left him with nothing. We will hold them accountable and seek reimbursement for every dollar they have stolen.”
(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
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