On May 24, 2021, PCSO detectives arrested 63-year-old Sharon Dawn of Haines Cityfor stealing almost $12,000 from a 91-year-old woman with Dementia, for whom she was hired as a caregiver.
Dawn, who is not a licensed caregiver, was recommended by a family friend and hired by the victim’s son to care for the victim by preparing meals, running errands, driving to doctor’s appointments, and as a companion for the victim. One of Dawn’s duties included paying the victim’s bills, by writing the checks for the victim to sign, and then mailing the bill payments.
Dawn was paid $15 per hour for 30 hours a week as the victim’s caregiver. Each week, Dawn would write a $300 check from the victim’s account and then give the check to the victim to sign. Dawn was also paid $150 per week directly from the victim’s son to make up the difference.
The investigation began in February of 2021 when the elderly victim’s son contacted PCSO detectives after he discovered a large amount of ATM withdrawals from his mother’s bank account during a time period when his mother was bedridden and under Hospice care.
The victim had to be moved to an assisted care facility in December of 2020 because her health had declined to a point where she needed full-time medical care, at which time Dawn’s services were no longer needed. The victim passed away in March while in Hospice care.
During the investigation, detectives discovered there had been 34 unauthorized ATM withdrawals totaling $10,400.00 and another three unauthorized payments to Capital One totaling $1,502.05, from August 2020 until March 2021
During an interview with detectives, the victim’s son told detectives that Dawn was helping his mother pay bills, but the ATM withdrawals and the payments to Capital One were not authorized. He also told detectives he confronted Dawn over the phone about the withdrawals, and she admitted to taking the money.
When detectives interviewed Dawn, she told them the money was a loan, and she was only paying herself back for buying the victim a robe with her Capital One credit card.
“Stealing from an elderly person with dementia is lower than low. This woman was entrusted with the care of one of our most vulnerable citizens, instead she betrayed that trust and stole thousands of dollars from her elderly victim.” – Grady Judd, Sheriff
Sharon Dawn was arrested for Fraud (F3), Criminal Use of Personal ID (F2), Felony Theft (F2), and Elderly Exploitation (F2). She was booked in to the jail and has since been released on a $21,000 bond.