MIAMI, Fla. (WFLA) — A Florida woman was arrested Friday in Miami-Dade County after allegedly stealing more than $437,000 from an elderly, hospitalized cancer patient.
WPLG reported that Ana Nunez posed as the 70-year-old patient’s daughters in order to visit her in the hospital. During that visit, Nunez allegedly manipulated the patient into signing documents giving her power of attorney.
According to WPLG, the patient signed over everything she owned to Nunez, including her house and bank accounts.
Nunez’s son, Pablo Figueroa, was arrested earlier in May for his involvement in the scheme.
Nunez was arrested on charges of organized fraud, exploitation of the elderly and theft from the elderly of more than $50,000. She has prior convictions including grand theft and forging documents.
Elderly people are a common target of scammers and fraudsters. Senior citizens were scammed out of nearly $1 billion in 2020, according to FBI data.
“Each year, millions of elderly Americans fall victim to some type of financial fraud or internet scheme, such as romance scams, tech support fraud, and lottery or sweepstake scams,” the FBI said in its report. Criminals gain their targets’ trust or use tactics of intimidation and threats to take advantage of their victims. Once successful, scammers are likely to keep a scheme going because of the prospect of significant financial gain.”
Not only are they targeted more frequently, the elderly are also more likely to be scammed out of larger sums of money compared with younger age groups, according to Consumer Affairs.
ABC News reports that elderly people in California, Texas and Florida fall victim the most often.