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Woman accused of exploiting elderly man, stealing more than $90,000

Woman accused of exploiting elderly man

Pinellas County detectives on Wednesday arrested a woman they say exploited and stole some $90,000 from an elderly man.

Police said Kari Smith, 38, of Largo entered into a "personal employment" agreement in 2014 with 86-year-old David Waddell. She gained access to his financial accounts and began to write checks and transfer large amounts of money to herself, totaling $90,806.24 from July 2014 to January 2015, they said.

Smith is charged with one count of exploitation of an elderly or disabled adult and two counts of criminal use of personal information.

Police said Smith and Waddell met in 2014 at a Clearwater law firm where she worked as a legal assistant. Waddell, who suffered from mental illness, sought assistance from the law firm. Police said Smith befriended Waddell and persuaded him to pay her large amounts for clerical work.

Waddell died in February 2015. An inquiry began after Waddell's family contacted detectives because they saw inconsistencies in his financial estate, police said. Police said Smith used Waddell's information to continue transferring money from his accounts during the inquiry.

Police said Smith has been taken to the Pinellas County Jail, and the investigation is ongoing.

Times staff