ROCKY RIVER, Ohio -- A Cuyahoga County Grand Jury has indicted a couple who is accused of stealing more than $800,000 from an elderly victim.
According to a press release from Rocky River police, Patrick Smith, 53, and his wife, Lori Smith, 54, were indicted for theft, identity fraud and forgery.
The Rocky River Police Department said on September 18, 2018, it was contacted by a retirement home regarding one of the residents. The administrator said it appeared a 94-year-old resident's family had been taking money from his bank accounts and the resident's bills were not being paid.
Police said an investigation revealed that the elderly victim had named Lori and Patrick Smith (his wife's niece and her husband) as powers-of-attorney and executors of his will in 2015 after his wife's death.
According to police, the power of attorney document prohibited the Smiths from using the victim's funds for their own benefit.
In 2015, police said the Smiths started to consolidate all of the victim's money to a single bank and used the funds for their "personal spending."
The press release states that between February 2015 and September 2018, they completed over 3,800 bank transactions using the victim's funds. That allegedly included:
o Approximately $47,000 in transactions to Amazon and Amazon Companies
o Approximately $25,000 in purchases at Costco
o Approximately $16,000 in purchases at Giant Eagle
o Approximately $25,000 in purchases at Lowe's
o Approximately $9,000 in purchases at QVC
o Approximately $34,000 in multiple cash withdrawals
o Approximately $157,000 in payments to contractors to remodel the home the victim gave them. (The victim transferred ownership of his Rocky River home – which the Smiths were already to inherit in his will – to them since he was no longer able to live there.)
o Cleveland Browns season tickets
o Tickets for the 2015 NBA Finals and 2016 NBA Eastern Conference Finals
o At least one vehicle, one camping trailer and one boat
o The estimated amount spent by the Smiths not on the victim’s care is $800,000
Police said by the time the assisted living facility contacted them in September, the victim's estate had been depleted and was down to just $4.94. Once the victim learned what was happening, he revoked access to his accounts, and set up -- with the help of the retirement community and the bank-- new accounts for the victim’s VA and social security benefits.