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Caretaker charged with stealing from 99-year-old Hernando County man

SPRING HILL — Vito Galioto is 99 years old.

He's disabled and uses a wheelchair. He needs full-time care, and, until earlier this year, he lived in an assisted living facility.

Then, authorities say, an acquaintance, Deborah Anne Rusin, took Galioto out of the facility and moved him into her house on Alderwood Street.

He lived there for about three months. A sheriff's report says Rusin and her husband took care of him.

On Oct. 15, Galioto tried to buy something with his debit card, but the transaction was denied because his account was overdrawn.

When Galioto went to the bank, investigators say, he discovered that between July and October, someone had written nine checks from his account totaling $748.06.

Those checks had been stolen, forged and written without permission, authorities say. Most of them were made out to and cashed by Rusin.

Also, the report says, Galioto found that someone had fraudulently used his debit card 13 times and withdrawn another $660.32 from his account.

Bank video surveillance confirmed that Rusin had taken the money.

After a Hernando County sheriff's detective interviewed Rusin, the 45-year-old admitted stealing the money. When asked why, the report says, she told the investigator she was addicted to alcohol and cocaine.

Rusin was charged with exploitation of the elderly. She was released from the Hernando County Detention Center after posting $2,000 bail.

John Woodrow Cox can be reached at jcox@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1432.

Caretaker charged with stealing from 99-year-old Hernando County man 12/07/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 9:16pm]
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