Sarasota caregiver accused of exploiting elderly victim, making off with $1.1 million

Caretaker Stels from Elderly Woman

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - A Sarasota woman is accused of exploiting the 94-year-old woman she cared for and taking more than a million dollars.

Peggy Nardone of Nokomis passed away in June 2019 and an attorney was appointed trustee of her estate. Deputies say he discovered that Nardone’s caregiver, 55-year-old Anna Bullinger, had taken more than a million dollars over the course of four years.

Sarasota caretaker accused of exploiting elderly victim, making off with $1.1 million

The day after Nardone passed away, the attorney found Bullinger had deposited a $90,000 check into her daughter’s bank account dated May 31, 2019 with the memo line saying it was a gift. The attorney says though the signature was Nardone’s, the payable information was in a different handwriting.

After that discovery, the attorney also learned that in January 2019, Nardone had signed documents authorizing the closure of a trust account, but the document shows handwriting that is not Nardone’s and $650,000 was put into Bullinger’s daughter’s account, again as a gift.

Subpoenas were issued to the bank and detectives found that Nardone had written checks up until May 31, 2019 and the signature was always consistent, but the handwriting for the payable information was not.

Starting in January 2015, detectives say Bullinger cashed 126 checks totaling $353,000, including 21 checks totaling $176,000 that were made out to cash. Detectives say 16 of the checks were written just below $10,000 and were cashed every two weeks.

Detectives say Bullinger endorsed the checks and the signatures match her signature. On several transactions, detectives say the bank teller recorded Bullinger’s driver’s license number.

All told, detectives say Bullinger took $1.1 million from Nardone.

Bullinger was arrested on New Year’s Eve and charged with one county of felony exploitation of the elderly. She was released on $50,000 bond.

The sheriff’s office says she has prior arrests for petit theft, grand theft and violation of probation.

Copyright 2020 WWSB. All rights reserved.