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Report: Bushnell woman stole from in-laws to support multimillion-dollar gambling habit

Jennifer Dennison handled all the couple’s finances.

Hernando County Sheriff’s Office

Jennifer Dennison handled all the couple’s finances.

BROOKSVILLE — A Sumter County woman has been arrested and accused of stealing more than $500,000 from her in-laws to support a gambling habit that saw her spend more than $14 million at a Tampa casino over two years.

The Hernando County Sheriff's Office gave this account: The family of a Brooksville couple knew something was wrong when a check written to a dentist on the couple's account bounced.

Family members knew the couple — Laverne Robert Dennison, 88, and Janet A. Dennison, 73, who has advanced-stage dementia — had sufficient funds to cover the check.

They checked with the bank and learned that the Dennisons' assets — including savings and checking accounts, CDs, annuities, life insurance and retirement funds — had been depleted. The family then reported the incident to law enforcement.

After a five-month investigation, Hernando detectives on Tuesday arrested Jennifer Dennison, 42, of Bushnell on various theft-related charges.

Detective Irene Gray learned during her investigation that Scott Dennison had power of attorney for his parents; however, Jennifer Dennison, his wife, handled all the finances.

Investigators said that Scott Dennison did not know that his wife had canceled all his parents' accounts, transferred funds and then took the cash to support her gambling habit until the check to the dentist bounced last August.

Jennifer Dennison, the report stated, spent more than $14 million at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa over a two-year period. Her winnings' were about $13 million, leaving her at a loss of more than $700,000.

Jennifer Dennison closed at least six of her in-laws' accounts and took approximately $513,535, leaving them with nothing, the report states.

Jennifer Dennison surrendered to Detective Gray on Tuesday. She faces charges of exploitation of the elderly, organized scheme to defraud, forgery of checks and uttering forged checks. She was being held at the Hernando County Detention Center on $64,000 bail.

Report: Bushnell woman stole from in-laws to support multimillion-dollar gambling habit 04/05/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 6, 2011 8:03am]
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