Several relatives of a legally blind 80-year-old widower were arrested on Friday after an investigation by Florida police concluded they had exploited him and misappropriated nearly $1 million of his money.
“The victims involved in these types of cases are simply helpless,” Orange County Sheriff’s Office Detective William Cruz, according to WESH-TV. “Because of those conditions he entrusted his daughter with power of attorney to handle his financial affairs and his daily care.”
According to the Orlando Sentinel, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office arrested Cynthia Lane Thomas, 58, her husband Richard Henry Thomas, 57, and Thomas’ son, Richard Aaron Thomas 33. Each were reportedly charged for exploiting an elderly person and first-degree grand theft.
Police estimate $2.8 million of Richard Chadwick’s money was spent between 2010 and 2013, but they were focusing particularly on $870,000 of it that the Thomas family was charged with taking, the Sentinel reported.
Prosecutors reportedly say they used that money to pay off a $147,000 mortgage, $375,000 to fund a company aimed at helping students find housing and another $170,000 to settle a lawsuit that stemmed from a start up the family invested in.
“It’s very unfortunate that a family member could do that to another family member,” Cruz said, according to WESH-TV. “It’s very easy to fall into this type of crime when you have only one person overseeing the victim’s finances.”
Another man, Christopher Ruki, who owns both companies with Richard Aaron Thomas, was given immunity to reveal what he knew to investigators, according to the Sentinel.
The three family members were reportedly booked in jail, each on a $30,000 bond.
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