DELAND, Fla. — A woman was sentenced to 10 years behind bars after officials said she befriended a U.S. Coast Guard veteran with the sole intent of taking his money, eventually defrauding him of $56,000.
The 82-year-old victim, a 22-year veteran, called the Veteran Crisis Center hotline in May of 2019 and told them he wanted to commit suicide because he ran out of money to take care of himself.
It was later determined that he was defrauded of $56,000 by 31-year-old Jessica Henry.
After being arrested and told not to have any contact with the victim, Henry called the victim to bond her out, which he did. Officials also arrested Gregory Dushan at the time, claiming he would call the victim daily and demand sums of money from $150 to $1,000, according to the DeLand Police Department.
Police said Dushan threatened the victim with jail time if the victim didn't pay and also threatened to seize the victim's vehicle.
Police concluded during their investigation that Dushan and Henry spent more than $500 a day that they stole from the victim to support their drug use.
Henry was convicted of exploitation of an elderly person, organized scheme to defraud and conspiracy to commit exploitation of an elderly person, all felonies.
After the sentencing, State Attorney R.J. Larizza said:
"We should all be disgusted by what the defendant did in this case. She used the Victim's sense of caring and generosity against him—for her own selfish and petty gain. Hopefully this case will inspire us to protect and defend those who have do so for our great nation."
Cox Media Group