NEW PORT RICHEY — It turns out that the 52-year-old man who was arrested last week on charges he stole $6,900 from his 80-year-old mother was the one who first called authorities.
But Michael B. Smith wasn't calling to rat on himself.
He called authorities to accuse another man, 52-year-old hairstylist Mark H. Meeks, of stealing $25,000 from Smith's mother, who suffers from dementia. According to the Pasco Sheriff's Office, Meeks got the money by stealing 50 blank checks from the woman.
Meeks was arrested Tuesday and admitted to stealing the money "to support his drug habit, pay his bills and buy his groceries," his arrest report states.
Meeks, of 2539 Cheval Dr. in Holiday, is charged with exploitation of the elderly and is being held in the Land O'Lakes jail in lieu of $10,000 bail. The report does not go into Meeks' relationship with the woman, only saying he was in a position of trust.
Authorities also determined that Smith and his ex-wife, Donna Lou Vaughn, 51 — who was the mother's caregiver — failed to clean or feed her. Smith and Vaughn, both of 5814 Chapman Drive in New Port Richey, were arrested last week.
Smith was charged with neglect of the elderly and exploitation of the elderly. He is being held in lieu of $7,500 bail at the Land O'Lakes jail. Authorities say Smith used his mother's money to buy bicycles and gave some of the cash to friends.
Vaughn is charged with neglect of the elderly. She is being held in lieu of $2,500 bail.