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Police: Woman defrauded elderly Cocoa man of over $20,000

Victim suffers memory issues, police say

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COCOA, Fla. – Almost four years ago, when an elderly Cocoa man's wife had just died, the daughter of an old friend came to "help" him, according to police reports.

On Wednesday, that friend was arrested after Cocoa police say she stole over $20,000 from him over the course of nearly a year, News 6 partner Florida Today reports.

Angela Odette, 51, is charged with dozens of counts of depositing an item with intent to defraud for stealing from a widower who had been experiencing "memory issues," Cocoa Police Department records state. She is also charged with larceny and exploitation of an elderly or disabled person. 

Two days after the alleged victim's wife passed away, the St. Cloud woman initially offered to help the man pay his bills, but quickly began making his checks out to herself, according to police. Instead of helping the man close a rainy day account in the man's recently deceased wife's name, Odette is accused of depositing the money into her own accounts.

Police said in the year Odette spent defrauding the man, she was able to gain power of attorney, giving her access to his accounts and his medical records, including the fact that he had been experiencing short-term memory issues. 

That did not stop Odette from writing 32 checks to herself for a total of $21,445, detectives said. 

"Odette showed a systematic, continuous behavior," over the period when she wrote the checks, police wrote in arrest affidavits, adding that Odette "exploited" the man's trust and medical issues. 

Odette eventually did stop taking the victim's money in summer of 2015, police said, after his credit cards and loans had gone into default. Odette then left the state and had been living in North Carolina before she was arrested, according to police affidavits. 

She has been released on bond since her arrest.