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Caregiver accused of stealing over $50,000 from elderly client

SPRING HILL — An independent caregiver defrauded her 91-year-old client of more than $50,000, authorities say, and spent the stolen money on concert tickets, a $1,000 dog and a new Kia sport utility vehicle.

Angel Edmonds, 36, of 10494 Parkside Court was arrested Monday by Hernando County sheriff's deputies and charged with one count of organized fraud in excess of $50,000, three counts of uttering a forged instrument and three counts of forgery. She was being held Tuesday in lieu of $11,000 bail.

In January, investigators say, Edmonds convinced Florence Butler to give her power of attorney over the elderly woman's estate. Later, Butler also added the suspect to a form that allowed Edmonds to access her bank accounts. Since then, a report stated, Butler's stocks and bonds have disappeared.

Edmonds stole a total of $57,071.73 from Butler between June 7 and July 26, deputies say. Among many things, she spent money on iTunes, satellite radio, movie rentals, the Disney Store and Toys "R" Us.

Edmonds also forged a check payable to "cash" for $30,000 to then obtain a certified check, which she used on June 16 to pay Citrus Kia in Crystal River for a 2011 SUV, investigators say.

She later forged two other checks — one for $3,500 and the other for $5,000 — and on July 18 bought a dog, which authorities believe was a chihuahua, for $1,022.90.

When deputies first contacted Edmonds on July 29, they say she tried to conceal what she had done by transferring the SUV's title to her husband, Bennett Edmonds. Within days, the two then sold the vehicle for $22,000 to CarMax in Tampa.

Once notified by law enforcement, CarMax held the vehicle and placed a stop payment on its check to Bennett Edmonds, who has not been criminally charged.

Detectives say they are still investigating Angel Edmonds' involvement in dealing stolen property and tampering with evidence. They say they believe this incident was isolated and Edmonds has not taken advantage of other clients.

"Victimizing our county's most vulnerable senior citizens," said Sheriff Al Nienhuis, "will always result in a considerable response from my office."

Reach John Woodrow Cox at (352) 848-1432 or jcox@sptimes.com.

Caregiver accused of stealing over $50,000 from elderly client 08/02/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 2, 2011 8:45pm]
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