St Johns County Criminal Charges for Theft from Elderly

A St. Johns County Florida woman was arrested for exploitation of the elderly.  Fox News of Jacksonville FL reported:

Florida Exploitation of Elderly Law

Carole Marie Erickson arrested in St Johns County FL

“The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office arrested Carole Marie Erickson, 52.  Investigators say Erickson took more than $20,000 from her mother through 41 ATM withdrawals.  Erickson had Power of Attorney over her disabled 73-year-old mother who was recuperating from surgery.  Investigators say the money Erickson is accused of taking came from an insurance policy that the victim had no idea existed. The sheriff’s office says Erickson made numerous unauthorized debit and purchases for her own use of more than $29,000. Erickson is free on bond. Family members first noticed the financial discrepancies and notified authorities.”

In this St Johns County elderly exploitation case, Erickson is accused of stealing her mother’s money for her own use.  She had access to the money due to her position of trust, since she had a power of attorney.  Police are alleging that she abused that power and stole the money.  She basically committed theft.  Unlike a normal Florida grand theft cases, she was able to take the money in a way that appeared to be legal.  This is often how most exploitation of the elderly cases occur.  Police will subpoena bank records to prove the withdrawals.  If the withdrawals occurred at an ATM, they will obtain the surveillance videos.  Just because someone withdrew money from another person’s account, it does not mean that he or she is stealing the money.  Caregivers are able to use the elderly person’s funds to pay for things that the elderly person needs.  They are not able to take the funds and use it for themselves.

The exploitation of the elderly law can be found in Florida Statute Section 825.103:

(1) “Exploitation of an elderly person or disabled adult” means:

(a) Knowingly, by deception or intimidation, obtaining or using, or endeavoring to obtain or use, an elderly person’s or disabled adult’s funds, assets, or property with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive the elderly person or disabled adult of the use, benefit, or possession of the funds, assets, or property, or to benefit someone other than the elderly person or disabled adult, by a person who:

1. Stands in a position of trust and confidence with the elderly person or disabled adult; or

2. Has a business relationship with the elderly person or disabled adult;

(b) Obtaining or using, endeavoring to obtain or use, or conspiring with another to obtain or use an elderly person’s or disabled adult’s funds, assets, or property with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive the elderly person or disabled adult of the use, benefit, or possession of the funds, assets, or property, or to benefit someone other than the elderly person or disabled adult, by a person who knows or reasonably should know that the elderly person or disabled adult lacks the capacity to consent; or

(c) Breach of a fiduciary duty to an elderly person or disabled adult by the person’s guardian or agent under a power of attorney which results in an unauthorized appropriation, sale, or transfer of property.

(2)(a) If the funds, assets, or property involved in the exploitation of the elderly person or disabled adult is valued at $100,000 or more, the offender commits a felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(b) If the funds, assets, or property involved in the exploitation of the elderly person or disabled adult is valued at $20,000 or more, but less than $100,000, the offender commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(c) If the funds, assets, or property involved in the exploitation of an elderly person or disabled adult is valued at less than $20,000, the offender commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

Erickson has been accused of unlawfully taking $29,000 from her mother.  According to the Florida statute, she is facing a second-degree felony.  This is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.  Speaking from my experience as a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, I believe that the St. Johns County detectives interviewed her or they tried to.  A confession helps the state attorney prove the case.  Most Jacksonville criminal lawyers will recommend that a suspect not speak to police without an attorney present.  Cases like these are often built on circumstantial evidence.  Confessions tie everything together.  Even if a suspect does not confess, his or her statement could be detrimental to the defense’s case.  Statements that conflict with the evidence will only hurt the defense.  It is always a good idea to speak with a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney first.  If you need to speak with a St Johns County Attorney call (904) 564-2525.

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About Cynthia, 20 Miles Law

Cynthia Veintemillas

Jacksonville Criminal Lawyer Cynthia Veintemillas Photo

Cynthia Veintemillas is an experienced Florida attorney. She began her legal career at the public defender’s office in Jacksonville, Florida. Her primary practice fields include criminal defense, litigation, and family law. She has also represented many people facing foreclosure in Duval County, Clay County, and St. Johns County, Florida.

Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice

  • Florida, 2006
  • South Carolina, 2007
  • Middle District of Florida, 2009

Professional & Bar Association Memberships

  • Florida Bar 
Member Since: 2006
  • South Carolina 
Member Since: 2007
  • Jacksonville Bar 
Member Since: 2008
  • Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

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