On Dec. 16, law enforcement officials reportedly charged a former nursing home worker with multiple felonies, including grand theft. Officials accused the former nursing home worker, a 42-year-old woman, of stealing approximately $12,000 from an elderly patient in her care.

State officials reported that the woman, who was the former director of admissions at the nursing home, convinced a 72-year-old resident suffering from dementia to withdraw money from her bank account. The worker allegedly used the funds to pay for her car. The state’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit opened an investigation into the alleged abuse, and their work ultimately led to the Dec. 16 charges.

The accused woman is facing multiple charges, including grand theft from a person age 65 or older and exploitation of an elderly person.

The state of Florida takes accusation of elder abuse extremely seriously. As such, several offenses involving senior citizens are classified as felonies, meaning that the penalties available to judges during sentencing are worthy of the state’s most egregious offenders, felons. In this way, a conviction on exploitation-related charges may elicit a significant prison sentence, to be served alongside other felons. It may be exceedingly difficult for felons to maintain a professional license and the correlated career upon release from prison.

Depending on the evidence substantiating such charges, there may be several defense strategies that a criminal defense attorney could employ to contest the charges, cast doubt on the prosecution’s case and ultimately absolve the accused individual of conviction. Defense attorneys with a history of defending individuals against felony charges are typically most apt to identify and formulate the best strategies.

Source: Findlaw, “Elder Abuse Overview,” Fe. 24, 2014

Source: Miami Herald, “Former nursing home worker arrested for stealing $12K from elderly resident“, Nicholas Nehamas, December 19, 2014

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