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Florida caregiver accused of stealing from elderly client

The caregiver of an elderly Florida man was held by police on allegations that she took his blank checks and made them out to herself for a total of almost $14,000. Criminal charges the woman was facing included grand theft, petit theft and uttering a false instrument. The accused woman reportedly told police that she had used the money to fuel a gambling addiction.

The 54-year-old nurse's aide was taken into custody after allegedly removing 16 checks from the client's money market account checkbook. Police said she then made the checks out to cash and signed the elderly man's name to them. The Broward County Sheriff's Office claimed that she then got the checks cashed at a local Tubby's Drive Thru store. An investigation indicated that 13 of the checks were cashed at the store for a total of $11,265, and Tubby's reportedly lost $2,178 when one of the forged checks bounced. An additional $2,320 of checks was reportedly cashed in other locations.

In Florida, a petit theft charge is a second-degree misdemeanor carrying a possible penalty of imprisonment for up to 60 days and a fine up to $500. Grand theft is a third-degree felony that may bring five years in prison and $5,000 in fines upon conviction. Uttering a false instrument is also a third-degree felony, with another five years in prison and $5,000 in fines possible.

Felony charges in Florida are extremely serious. For individuals accused of such malfeasance, an attorney experienced in criminal defense may be able to help by negotiating plea bargains for lesser charges and penalties. Such a lawyer may also be able to examine arrest and investigation records for mistakes that could bring a dismissal of all criminal charges.

Source: Sun Sentinel, "Tamarac caregiver accused of stealing nearly $14,000 from elderly patient", Wayne K. Roustan, August 09, 2013

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