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Palm Harbor Man Accused of Stealing from Elderly Victims

Pinellas Crime | Local News | TB Reporter

The victims, both female, are 98 and 87 years old, Pinellas sheriff’s deputies say.

PINELLAS COUNTY – Sheriff’s deputies on Friday (March 6) arrested the owner of a termite and pest control company and accused him of altering checks written to him by two elderly customers.

Pinellas County deputies charged Richard James MacDonald, 58, of 1330 Georgia Ave., Palm Harbor, with one count grand theft from persons 65 years of age or older; one count exploitation of an elderly person; and one count of uttering a forged instrument. Deputies withheld the victims’ identities, saying the alleged acts took place in private homes in the Palm Harbor area and that both victims are women, aged 98 and 87. MacDonald is owner of Rich’s Termite and Pest Control, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

The investigation began last August, deputies say, after it was reported that one of the female victims had unauthorized amounts of money taken from checks she had written to MacDonald. According to detectives, MacDonald provided pest control services to the female victim. The victim would in turn provide payment via check to MacDonald. Knowing the victim was elderly and legally blind, MacDonald would then alter the checks for a different amount and deposit them into his bank account, deputies say.

After investigation, detectives found a second victim who also had checks altered by MacDonald. He altered checks of both victims on¬†multiple occasions from approximately March 2011 to the fall of 2014, sheriff’s officials say. MacDonald was taken to the Pinellas County Jail.

Deputies say MacDonald was providing pest control services through his business without a license. That is also being investigated.

Pinellas County Sheriff | Palm Harbor | Pinellas Crime

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