Woman arrested for stealing thousands from disabled client

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ENGLEWOOD, FL. - The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office has arrested an Englewood woman for stealing thousands of dollars from a disabled client who hired Whitehead to prepare her taxes.

The 60-year-old victim lives in St. Petersburg and has chronic health problems that render her bedridden and cause her to be frequently hospitalized. She hired 59-year-old Michele Whitehead in August 2011 to file two years of taxes for her, because she thought she was a CPA.

The victim gave Whitehead a $2,400 retainer, agreed to pay $15 an hour for work exceeding that amount, and gave Whitehead durable Power of Attorney. However, detectives learned that Whitehead stopped bank statements from being delivered to the victim’s home, and over a period of a year made seven wire transfers from the victim’s account totaling more than $7,200. Invoices for the tax preparation, totaled just $708.75.

Whitehead is charged with Exploitation of a Disabled Adult and Grand Theft for exploiting the trust and breaching the fiduciary duty of the Power of Attorney.