SPRING HILL — Rhonda Delgado's in-laws called her a trusted member of their family for several decades.
But over the course of four months this year, authorities say, Delgado stole more than $19,000 from her 75-year-old disabled mother-in-law by cashing forged and stolen checks.
According to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office, the mother-in-law wrote Delgado a $75 check that Delgado then altered to $7,500. In other cases, Delgado stole checks and cashed or deposited them. Detectives tallied 10 checks totaling $19,400.
The mother-in-law's condition was redacted from the sheriff's report, but a detective wrote in an arrest report that the condition "greatly limited her mental capacity." The woman, who lives in Spring Hill, told detectives she had been giving her son and his wife money to help them pay bills after they lost their dry cleaning business.
Delgado, 49, of Tampa, admitted to altering some checks and cashing some that were made out to her husband, but she denied stealing any checks, the report states. She also admitted to pretending to be her mother-in-law to transfer money from the woman's money market account to her checking account to cover up transactions.
Delgado said she needed the money to support an addiction to cocaine and prescription pills and was attempting to "get her life in order," the report states.
Delgado was booked at the Hernando County Detention Center on one count of exploitation of the elderly and four counts of fraud. She remained there Wednesday in lieu of $2,500 bail.