Largo, Florida, July 2, 2009 - The St Petersburg Times reports the arrest of 61-year-old Peggy Friend, who is accused of defrauding the mentally ill man she was hired to care for of more than $20,000 over a 16-month period in 2007 and 2008. From the article:
According to the warrant, Friend offered to care for 52-year-old Mark Easter, who is bipolar and suffers from other mental illnesses. Easter let Friend come live with him in June 2007 so she could assist him with "paying his bills, scheduling his medical appointments and taking his prescription medicines," the warrant said.
Instead, she used Easter's credit cards without his permission and spent more than $3,000 on dental work, $2,000 for furniture, $6,000 on cookware, $1,500 on a big-screen television, $900 for a handgun and $900 for a refrigerator.
She also spent "thousands of dollars for emergency care for her pet cat," the warrant said.
The warrant does not give the exact amount that Friend allegedly stole, but said it was more than $20,000 and less than $100,000.
Friend has been charged with exploitation of a disabled adult and is being held in jail in lieu of $20,000 bail. According to the article, court records show that Friend was arrested in 2001 on charges of title fraud and grand theft, but those charges were later dropped.