NEW PORT RICHEY — An 83-year-old woman told authorities that her boyfriend wrote checks to himself from her bank accounts and forged her name to obtain the title to her car.
The woman, whose identity is being withheld by the Times because of the nature of the allegations, has been diagnosed with dementia. She told Pasco sheriff's deputies she gave power of attorney to Claude Martin Howard, 79, of 5005 Damsen Circle.
According to Howard's arrest report, he wrote himself at least 10 checks totaling more than $5,000 over five months last year, under the guise of using them to pay the woman's bills. He also got title to her 1999 Mercury, worth about $4,600.
Howard was aware of the woman's dementia, the report says, but told deputies the money was payment for his taking care of her finances. He was charged with exploitation of the elderly and released from the Pasco County jail Wednesday after posting $5,000 bail.