An elderly couple in Florida have lost almost all of their life savings after their caretaker allegedly stole more than $100,000 from them over the course of several years.
Rella Herman, a 93-year-old Holocaust survivor, and her husband Leonard, 91, have been left reeling since they were scammed by their certified nursing assistant, according to a GoFundMePage starting by their grandson, Micah Herman.
“Not only has [Rella] had to endure the trauma of the concentration camps and losing her own mother at Auschwitz, but now she is the victim of elderly exploitation and grand theft,” Micah writes on the page.
On Friday, the couple’s 56-year-old caretaker, Odalis Lopez, was taken into custody and charged with felony grand theft and elderly exploitation after investigators say she allegedly used the couple’s credit cards while providing care for them. She had taken care of them since 2011, WSVN and WTJV report.
During that time Lopez allegedly depleted the couple’s life savings, which included retirement funds and Holocaust reparation checks, while she gained their trust.
“This was her only friend. This is someone she saw more than anybody,” Micah told WSVN.
“They have been stripped of everything,” Micah told WSVN, listing some of Lopez’ purchases as “parties, margaritas, buying gift cards at Publix and at Chili’s or Cheesecake Factory.”
Investigators say Lopez allegedly spent $116,322 at the supermarket Publix alone.
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Even after Rella lost her only son to cancer in 2015, Lopez allegedly continued to steal.
“[Lopez] seized upon Rella’s fresh grief and began making exorbitant fraudulent charges with Rella’s credit cards that she unknowingly paid off, effectively stripping her of retirement funds, much of which came from Holocaust reparation checks from the German government,” Micah writes on the GoFundMe page.
Lopez was bonded out of jail and is scheduled to appear in court in September, according to WSVN. Attorney information was not available Thursday.
As of Thursday, the family’s GoFundMe page has raised a little more than $8,100 for the Hermans.
“While [Lopez] has been arrested, Rella and [Leonard] have been left reeling and can’t afford even the most basic home care,” Micah writes. “Any help you can provide will go a long way towards providing them stability in the twilight of their lives.”