Senior center employee accused of stealing from residents during shopping trip

Patience James arrested Dec. 21

By Vanessa Araiza - Reporter

LADY LAKE, Fla. - A former employee at Lady Lake Specialty Care center is now facing exploitation and grand theft charges.

Patience James, 37, an activity aide at the center, was arrested Dec. 21 after Lady Lake police said she stole money from residents, ages 73, 86 and 88, during a shopping trip.

According to the police report, James was given $6,000 cash to take three residents shopping on Dec.15 at the Paddock Mall and Walmart.

When one of the victim's got back from the trip, he told the care center's management he was missing $700, according to the arrest report.

Police said James met up with another woman to take the three victims shopping in Ocala, which is against the senior care facility's policy.

Police were told she held on to the money for fear one of the residents may lose it. After authorities asked James to return the money and receipts, they determined the receipts and the leftover cash did not add up.

James posted bail the same day she was booked into the Lake County Jail on charges of grand theft.

News 6 went to her home for a comment, but was directed to her attorney, Michael Wells. 

Wells said a family member contacted him about her case, but at this point in time he has not been hired by her. 

The center released a statement Thursday staying, "The safety and well-being of patients and residents always comes first which is why leadership at Lady Lake Specialty Care took swift and immediate action to address misappropriation of funds by one of its employees. Lady Lake Specialty Care is working closely with law enforcement so that our resident receives justice."

James' next court date is Jan.16.

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