Fund started for Deland veteran defrauded of $50,000, police say

DeLand couple accused of exploiting 82-year-old veteran

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist

DeLAND, Fla. - After an outpouring of support for an 82-year-old DeLand man, who police say was exploited by two people to the tune of $50,000, two organizations have opened fundraisers for the U.S. Coast Guard veteran.

A 31-year-old woman and her boyfriend are accused of exploiting thousands of dollars from the octogenarian under the guise that she needed help paying for extraordinary probation costs and her boyfriend was her probation officer, according to DeLand police.

Since their arrests, DeLand police have received inquiries from people who want to help the veteran get back on his feet.

"We have received numerous emails and phone calls from people from as far away as Alaska and Canada who want to donate monetarily to the 82-year-old veteran who was scammed out of $50,000 – maybe more," city spokesman Chris Graham said in an email. "The response is in large part due to coverage by our local media and the story was later reported by Fox News and Newsweek."

Because the case is still under investigation the city couldn't participate in fundraising efforts, according to Graham. Thankfully, the city found two organizations that have stepped in to help.

The Florida American Legion and Tennessee-based Code of Vets "have been tremendous," Graham said. Close to $3,000 has been raised in less than 12 hours and Graham said at least two other people have pledging $5,000 each to the veteran.

Anyone who would like to help can visit projectvetrelief.org/delandveteran or the Code of Vets website here.

All donations will be sent to the American Legion who will distribute the funds to the DeLand veteran.

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