SHALIMAR, Fla. - A Florida woman is accused of exploiting a partially disabled 75-year-old woman and her terminally ill 80-year-old husband while working as a housekeeper, the Okaloosa Sheriff’s Office said.
Elissa Pedersen, 45, was arrested and charged with exploitation of elderly persons between $10,000 and $50,000, fraudulent use of credit cards, false verification of ownership to a pawnbroker and criminal use of personal identification information, the Sheriff’s Office said.
The victims told deputies they had been paying Pederson $400 a week to help with housework, cooking, getting their mail and other tasks.
The victims also said they were contacted by Discover Card regarding suspicious charges, but the victim said she never owned or applied for a Discover Card. The company said Pedersen was listed as an authorized user on the account, according to deputies.
“She also discovered multiple charges she did not make on department store cards and discovered purchases made with her bank credit card on Amazon.com, even though she has never had an Amazon account,” a news release said.
Deputies said the victim suspected jewelry and some of her husband’s medicine were missing.
“Pedersen had also taken and pawned gold chains belonging to the husband and a unique ‘I love you” inscribed wedding pendant that both victims had designed together,” the release said.
The pendant cannot be recovered because it was melted down, deputies said.
“The investigator says he showed her a photo of jewelry that had been pawned by Pedersen in January 2019 and the woman began to cry,” the release said.
The husband’s gold and diamond wedding band worth more than $5,000 was also missing and has not been recovered, the release said.
“The investigation determined Pederson made numerous fraudulent charges on the fraudulently obtained Discover card, including funding a trip to New Orleans complete with a carriage ride. Other credit cards revealed fraudulent charges for clothing, perfume, and designer handbags,” the release said.
Deputies said Facebook posts made by Pedersen showed she had gone to Michigan, where Detroit Crime Stoppers assisted in publicizing the search.
Pedersen turned herself in Monday, deputies said.
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