By: WCTV Eyewitness News
August 16, 2018
CRAWFORDVILLE, Fla. (WCTV) -- The Wakulla County Sheriff's Office has arrested a woman they say stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from the elderly woman she was hired to care for.
An investigation was first launched back in January when the sheriff's office received a complaint that Laurie Faircloth, a caretaker for a 71-year-old woman, had been financially exploiting her client.
The WCSO Criminal Investigations Division began investigating the allegations, which revealed financial crimes committed in both Leon and Wakulla Counties.
According to WCSO, Faircloth became the victim's caretaker in February 2016. Deputies say although Faircloth was not a relative of the victim, she convinced the victim to give her power of attorney and to make her the beneficiary of the victim’s will.
The victim said Faircloth asked for $20,000 in the beginning of 2017 as payment for her services in 2016, adding that this was the only time that Faircloth ever mentioned that she needed to be paid for providing caregiver services.
Before Faircloth became the victim’s caretaker, investigators say the victim had over $110,000 in a savings account, around $9,000 in another account, over $235,000 in her Individual Retirement Account and over $200,000 in appraised assets, including jewelry, gold coins, platinum and silver.
Authorities say that by January 2018, it was discovered that all of the victim’s accounts had been completely depleted, forcing her to live off of social security and food stamps.
Investigators say Faircloth sold the victim's jewelry and valuables, collecting tens of thousands of dollars in the process and depositing the checks into her bank account. However, by January 2018, Faircloth's bank account was also empty.
During an interview with investigators in May, Faircloth acknowledged that she had power of attorney over the victim and stated that everything the victim had, “we spent on dog rescue.” Faircloth explained that she rescues animals and did “a good deed with it.” Faircloth also claimed that the only piece of jewelry she had that belonged to the victim was her “pearls.”
Faircloth was arrested on a warrant on Thursday and booked into the Wakulla County Jail. She is being held on $75,000 bail.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the victims. For more information, click here.