DeLAND, Fla. – A 31-year-old woman and her boyfriend are accused of exploiting thousands of dollars from a DeLand veteran under the guise that she needed help paying for extraordinary probation costs and her boyfriend was her probation officer, according to DeLand police.
The 82-year-old U.S. Coast Guard veteran told police he felt bad for Jessica Henry, 31, when he first met her three years ago because she told him she didn't have money to feed her children or transportation to take them to school. Henry lived near the victim, according to the arrest report.
Officials at the Veterans Crisis Center contacted DeLand police May 8 after the victim said he wanted to end his life because all his money was gone.
First, Henry's neighbor would give her "a few dollars" to buy food but later after the victim moved away Henry called him to say she had been arrested, police said. Henry told the victim she needed $350 a day to pay for her urine tests as part of her probation, according to the report.
The victim told police Henry's "probation officer" later determined to be her boyfriend, Gregory Dushan, 28, would call him daily and demand between $150 and $1,000. If the victim didn't have money Dushan would take his car and hold it until he paid him up to $1,500, according to arrest report.
The victim said Dushan would threaten him with jail and said he would have the SWAT team kick down his doors if he did not pay Henry's fees.
When police detectives told the victim they would help find his car, the victim said if they helped him, "he would no longer have to commit suicide," according to the report.
Dushan was found driving the victim's car on West Lison Parkway at Henry's residence, police said.
Henry and Dushan are charged with exploiting an elderly peson of up to $100,000. Dushan is also charged with impersonating an officer or public employee, jail records show.
Over the course of the allegations, the victim said he gave Henry and her "probation officer" more than $50,000, leaving him unable to pay his rent.
DeLand police officials said they have received numerous calls from people who would like to help the victim. A spokesperson said the department is exploring ways to help the 82-year-old. Anyone who would like to help can contact Chris Graham at email@example.com.