• Caretaker accused of stealing thousands from elderly Tavares man

    Updated:

    TAVARES, Fla. - An elderly Lake County man called Channel 9 for help after he said a worker at his assisted living facility opened a credit card in his name and spent thousands of dollars.

    Authorities said it's clear Amelia Padilla took advantage of 79-year-old Bobby Martin, who is a resident at Somerset Assisted Living in Tavares on Lake Saunders.

    Martin described Padilla as nice with "the sweetest personality," but police said the caretaker has a criminal history that includes fraud and arrests for credit card fraud.

    "She kind of befriended me," said Martin.

    Martin says it started small, saying he first bought Padilla a dress for her wedding. He said she then offered to help him.

    "She kind of befriended me," said Martin.

    Martin gave Padilla his debit card to get tags and insurance on his truck, but he said that never happened. Then he noticed big cash withdrawals and purchases at places he'd never been, including a nail salon.

    "I've never had a manicure, nothing in my life," said Martin.

    Tavares police said it appears Padilla then used Martin's personal information to open a credit card account.

    "She targeted this gentleman," said Sgt. John Hall of the Tavares Police Department. "Total premeditated effort on her part to swindle money out of an elderly gentleman."

    Even though Padilla hasn't been arrested, investigators are looking to bring charges of credit card fraud and identity theft against her, possibly elderly exploitation.

    "She's got to be punished," said Martin. "She can't keep doing this because if she done me this way, she's going to do somebody else."

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