LAKE COUNTY, Florida – An 86-year-old Florida woman is accused of stealing over $10,000 from a 99-year-old man who lived at the same facility as her, according to court documents.
KPRC 2′s sister station in Orlando, Florida, WKMG, reports Cynthia Milligan faces charges of exploitation of an elderly person and grand theft from a person 65 or older.
The report states police in Eustis, Florida met with the victim’s son on June 12 who told investigators that his father had recently died.
According to court documents, the man was reviewing his bank statements and saw “some activity that concerned him.”
The man told officers that his father was exploited by Milligan who previously lived at Holiday Lake Ridge Village, the same senior living community as his father.
Police said that the man saw a cashier’s check written from his father to Milligan in the amount of $10,000. He told officers that this raised a red flag because he talked to his father regularly and he did not know who Milligan was.
Court documents stated the man said that his father, who was 99 at the time of the incident, was legally blind, 80% deaf, and was ruled a catastrophically disabled veteran by the VA. He told investigators that due to his father’s age and medical ailments, he believed he was not competent enough to “provide Cynthia the cashier’s check.”
The victim’s son told police that when he reached out to staff at Holiday Lake Ridge Village, he was told that Milligan was an “ambassador” who was appointed by staff to assist residents with collecting mail, taking them to appointments, and coordinating events in the facility. The man said this was particularly alarming since Milligan would have access to his father’s mail and be able to see several checks received from the VA.
According to the documents, when the man contacted Milligan, she told him that the money was a loan and she did not realize the father “had family.”
When police attempted to speak to Milligan at Holiday Lake Ridge Village, they were told that she had moved.
On July 5, investigators were able to get access to bank records which showed that Milligan deposited the $10,000 check on May 5 into an account that previously only had $8 in it. Eleven days later, she wire transferred the $10,000 to Deborah Gresham Lobban, records show.
Police said that when they visited the bank where the check was deposited, they were told that Milligan’s account was closed on June 13 because “she continually brought in checks that would bounce, due to insufficient funds.”
According to the documents, when bank staff pulled Milligan aside to ask where the checks were coming from, she provided short answers and told them she had a boyfriend in China. Bank staff told investigators that Milligan had a new account with the bank and it was being “closely monitored with no recent suspicious activity.”
Investigators attempted to contact Milligan on July 7 at her new residence but were only able to reach her by phone. She agreed to meet in person to talk about the incident at the police department.
The WKMG report said Milligan told investigators that at one point the victim moved to a unit closer to hers at Holiday Lake Ridge Village and stated that they were only friends.
According to court documents, Milligan said the victim asked her to take him to the bank because he said that “she saved his life and he wanted to repay her.” Milligan was unable to explain any life-saving situations when interviewed, police say. Milligan said she told the victim no a few times but eventually agreed to take him to the bank.
While at the bank, Milligan sat with the victim and a bank teller, according to police. She told police that the victim requested the teller complete a $10,000 cashier’s check “to the order of Cynthia.” Milligan said that she had the victim lie about what the check was for so the bank would go through with the transaction.
Milligan said she made several statements of not wanting the money but claimed the statements were made when the teller was not with them and would not have heard.
According to court documents, when investigators asked Milligan who Deborah Gresham Lobban was, she became “visibly nervous and stated it was just somebody she knew of” and said it was someone she met online, but never met in person. Milligan was not able to show any proof of any messages with Lobban and was unable to provide her age or where she lived.
Police said on Aug. 8 they called and spoke with Milligan again and asked to speak in person at the Eustis Police Department. She told investigators that she had “further information,” according to officers.
At the second meeting, police said that Milligan told officers a completely different story about the incident. Investigators said she stated she had been communicating with a man online for two or three years and that they were dating, though the two never met in person. Milligan told police that the man worked on an offshore oil rig and needed money because some of his equipment stopped working.
According to court documents, she was again unable to provide any messages with the man or any information about his name, address or phone number.
Investigators said on Aug. 10 they contacted medical staff at Holiday Lake Ridge Village and were told that the victim and Milligan were “not close at all.” They also stated that the victim was very frugal with his money and did not think he would ever willingly “do such a thing, especially for $10,000.”
Police said that due to Milligan’s inconsistent stories and lack of cooperation, they had probable cause for her arrest.