A registered sex offender was arrested Tuesday for allegedly scamming an 88-year-old Leesburg woman out of more than $20,000.

The man moved in with the woman in exchange for running errands and taking her to various appointments, according to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

The man is accused of using her debit cards for himself, having the woman paying for his vehicle insurance, attempting to get her vehicle transferred into his name, subscribing to an NFL season package that the woman had not authorized and other thefts and fraudulent activity, according to reports.

The 48-year-old was charged with exploitation of an elderly adult and remained in the Lake County Jail Wednesday in lieu of $5,000 bail.

According to an arrest affidavit, the woman allowed the man, his girlfriend and her children to move into her Leesburg home in 2013.

Reports allege that a family friend of the woman came to the home for a visit Tuesday and, after talking with the woman, became suspicious that the man had been stealing money from the woman’s bank account.

Lake County sheriff’s deputies were called to the home and told about jewelry, cash and other items that had come up missing. The woman blamed some of the alleged crimes on the girlfriend’s daughter.

The woman said she kicked the man and the other occupants out her home, but continued paying him for running her on errands.

The man was questioned by police and arrested, according to reports.

Florida law has strict consequences in place if an elderly person is exploited. These cases usually involve family members and/or friends, and these complex relationships can make these cases difficult. It is not uncommon for these accusations of exploitation to be false or exaggerated.  

Any criminal allegation should be taken seriously. Before making any statements to police, it is best to consult with an attorney first for legal advice. Any statements you make can later be used against you. Even if you are completely innocent of any crime, another person can twist your words around to be used against you in court. A criminal defense attorney is your best ally when it comes to criminal matters. Our Villages Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can relay your side of the story and present any evidence available to show your innocence.

If you have been arrested or charged with exploiting an elderly person in The Villages or the surrounding communities, let us help. Call us today at 352-369-5334 or contact us online for a free consultation.