PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFTS) — A Pinellas County couple was arrested after allegedly exploiting more than $300,000 from their 97-year-old mother.
The investigation started in September of 2017, after family members identified supsicious activity involving the financial portfolio of the woman.
During the investigation, detectives learned that the woman’s daughter, 69-year-old Stephanie Bontempo, and her 73-year-old husband, Samuel Bontempo, moved the woman into their home back in 2013.
She was diagnosed with dementia and had suffered a medical episode.
Detectives say the Bontempo’s agreed to provide full-time care and assistance to the woman and took over her finances. Medical records show the victim was disabled and lacked the capacity to consent shortly after moving in with them.
Evidence gathered by detectives showed that over the course of four years, the Bontempo’s liquidated multiple retirement financial assets belonging to the victim, spent her montly retirement checks as if it was their own, and spent money from her checking account for their own benefit.
Detectives also learned the Bontempo’s used the woman’s identity to open new and re-establish existing credit cards, took out cash advances and maxed out credit limits that damaged her credit.
The Bontempo’s were allegedly living off the victim’s money and used some of it to try to start a new business.
Detectives estimate the victim suffered a total financial loss of approximately $321,570.
On Feb. 8, detectives arrested the couple in Largo. They are each charged with one count of exploitation of an elderly or disabled adult.