BROOKSVILLE — The caregiver of a 91-year-old man with dementia bilked him out of nearly $25,000 through fraudulent checks and debit and credit card transactions, authorities say.
Joy Ann Serini, 40, was arrested in Oklahoma on Nov. 28 on a Hernando County warrant for exploitation of the elderly, according to the Hernando Sheriff's Office. Serini arrived at the Hernando Detention Center on Thursday and remained there Friday in lieu of $2,500 bail.
The elderly man's grandson, who lives out of state and has power of attorney for him, contacted the Sheriff's Office in July after noticing several suspicious transactions on his grandfather's bank accounts. Detectives say they found three fraudulent check transactions and at least 97 debit/credit card transactions that were believed to be fraudulent, totaling $24,916.36.
Serini was serving as an informal caregiver for the man, who lived in Spring Hill, the Sheriff's Office said. Surveillance video showed her making several of the transactions or withdrawing cash. Her husband, roommate and one of her close friends all told investigators she was using his checks and credit card to make purchases for herself and withdrawing money from his account at ATMs.
Investigators learned that Serini fled to Tulsa to avoid arrest and was staying with her mother.
During the investigation, the man was moved to a local assisted living facility and will soon relocate to where his grandson lives, the Sheriff's Office said.