Woman Stole Thousands from Elderly Man, Pinellas Sheriff Says
The man’s family discovered the missing fund after the man’s death.
PINELLAS COUNTY – After an investigation that lasted more than a year and a half, Pinellas sheriff’s deputies have arrested a Largo woman who, they say, stole about $90,800 from an elderly, mentally ill man.
Kari Smith, 38, of 14099 Belcher Road S, #1099 in Largo, was charged with one count of exploitation of an elderly or disabled adult and two counts of criminal use of personal information, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies said Smith was working as a legal assistant for a Clearwater law firm in 2014 when she first met the victim, David Waddell, 86. Mr. Waddell, who was suffering from mental illness, sought legal help from the law firm where Smith worked. Smith befriended Mr. Waddell and convinced him to pay her large amounts of money to perform clerical work on his behalf. Smith entered into a personal “employment agreement” with Mr. Waddell, without the knowledge of his attorney or the law firm Smith was working for, deputies said.
During the course of their business relationship, Smith obtained Mr. Waddell’s personal information and gained access to his financial accounts where she wrote checks and transferred large sums of money to herself. On one occasion, Smith used Mr. Waddell’s debit card to pay for a new roof on her home.
Waddell died in February 2015. After his passing, Mr. Waddell’s family discovered the inconsistencies in his financial estate and contacted deputies.
During the course of their investigation, deputies said Smith impersonated Mr. Waddell, and used his personal information to try transferring more money from his financial accounts.
Smith was interviewed at the sheriff’s office Thursday (Sept. 8). Deputies said she took an estimated total of $90,806.24 of Mr. Waddell’s money for herself between July 2014 and January 2015.
For information about the Pinellas sheriff, go to pcsoweb.com.
Pinellas Sheriff | Arrests | Crime | Elder Exploitation | Tampa Bay Reporter
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