Northeast Ohio woman accused of stealing over $600,000 from elderly, disabled people

NORTHEAST OHIO -- A northeast Ohio woman is accused of scamming elderly and disabled people while serving as their caregiver, allegedly stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of benefits, finances and even loans that she helped patients take out.

Lisa Dotson was indicted in September on five counts of theft, identity fraud and misuse of credit cards, according to court documents.

Dotson reportedly used the stolen funds on gambling, entertainment and luxury purchases.

According to the indictment, Dotson accessed financial accounts of an elderly man with disabilities and stole $633,736 by writing checks, using electronic payments and transfers, changing beneficiary designations and making ACH direct deposits.

She allegedly issued duplicate paychecks to herself in amounts that exceed the "home health aid industry standards for earnings and supplies needed for care of victim."

Dotson also housed a disabled man, according to the indictment, and withdrew his Social Security benefits of approximately $740 each month.  She allegedly withdrew his funds and then repeatedly told him the benefits had been cut. Dotson reportedly told authorities the victim had access to the money after she deducted his living costs.

Dotson also allegedly requested personal loans ranging in amounts of $100 to $1,000 from an elderly couple after befriending them when a mutual friend passed away.  According to the indictment, she took out $48,860 in loans she had no intention to repay.

Dotson is also charged with identity fraud for using the personal information of a 79-year-old woman with Alzheimer's disease to execute short-term and high interest rate loans, including an unauthorized, superseding power of attorney over the elderly victim in order continue high interest rate loan terms for which elderly victim's car title served as collateral.

According to the indictment, Dotson is also charged with illegal use of Sychrony Bank, Citibank, AmTrust Visa, JCPenny, Home Depot, and Sears credit cards.  She allegedly spent between $1,000 to $7,500 in goods or services during a 90-day period.

One of the elderly victims has been identified as the brother of Michelle Knight, one of the three women held against their will in Cleveland for several years.

Prosecutor Michael O'Malley said, “This individual’s actions are despicable. She preyed on our most vulnerable citizens and will be held accountable.”