A 79-year-old woman has been arrested after police said she gained power of attorney over a woman living at an assisted living facility and drained her of nearly half a million dollars.
Estella Maria Bailey of Gulfport was arrested Tuesday on one count of exploitation of the elderly or a disabled adult.
Gulfport police said Bailey met a woman who was living at an assisted living facility between 2018 and 2019. Bailey befriended the woman and offered to be her caregiver.
The woman has been diagnosed with both dementia and depression, police said, and has a hard time answering questions or making decisions, including about her finances.
The woman agreed to have Bailey be her caregiver. Starting in January 2019, Bailey began making ATM withdrawals from the woman’s account, police said — usually in the amount of $500 to $700, about four or five times a month. Bailey also made personal purchases using the woman’s money, according to an arrest report.
Bailey gained power of attorney over the woman in April 2019, police said. Bailey then moved the woman out of the assisted living facility into a condo. In December 2020, Bailey wrote herself a check for $180,000 and withdrew the money from the woman’s bank account, the report states.
In total, police said, Bailey took about $450,000 from the woman over the course of two years. This money was not used to help the woman and “deprived the victim of the use or benefit of these funds,” according to the arrest affidavit.
Bailey posted $5,000 bail Tuesday shortly after her arrest. She could not be reached for comment at phone numbers listed under her name.