Florida Nurse Allegedly Spent Holocaust Survivor's Life Savings on Parties, Margaritas, Gift Cards: 'They Have Been Stripped of Everything'

A Florida woman employed as a nursing assistant to a Pinecrest couple in their 90s has been arrested for allegedly pilfering more than $100,000 from their life savings.

Odalis Lopez, 56, was booked into the Miami-Dade County jail last Friday on multiple charges, including theft from an elderly person and financial exploitation. Her victims were identified as Holocaust survivor Rella Herman, 93, and her 91-year-old husband Leonard Herman.

Micha Herman, the couple's grandson, said the caretaker had been taking advantage of his relative's bank accounts as far back as 2011. He alleged the thefts had escalated four years ago when Lopez exploited the death of Rella Herman's only son, who died from cancer.

"The caretaker seized upon Rella's fresh grief and began making exorbitant fraudulent charges with Rella's credit cards that she unknowingly paid off, effectively stripping her of retirement funds, much of which came from Holocaust reparation checks from the German government," Micha Herman wrote on a GoFundMe page that has been created for public donations.

The abuse was only discovered after family members spotted suspicious transactions on bank records. Citing a state investigation, the grandson said the loss is more than $100,000. He said the savings had been abused by Lopez for parties, margaritas, restaurants and gift cards.

"They have been stripped of everything," he told WSVN 7News during an on-air news segment. "It was disgusting. She started [spending] just exorbitant amounts of money."

The caretaker had access to credit cards to purchase groceries and handle drug prescriptions for the couple. She is accused of slowly gaining their trust over the years, NBC Miami reported.

Thank you @fox_sheldon & @wsvn for taking an interest in this terrible crime against two very elderly individuals who are now financially destitute because of the defendant's greedy actions & betrayal of their trust. https://t.co/jfC6aWn1zQ

— Kathy Rundle (@KathyFndzRundle) August 6, 2019

An arrest warrant that was first obtained by WSVN contained the allegation that transactions linked to the supermarket chain Publix alone totaled $116,322. "This one is really all about greed," said state attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, who is now prosecuting the case. "Selfish indulgence, it seems like, based on the purchases that we've seen."

Lopez's next court date has been set for September 3. She was released from jail after posting bond. The suspect's mugshot was obtained via a database maintained by the Sun-Sentinel.

Micha Herman appealed on the GoFundMe: "While the caretaker has been arrested, Rella and her ninety-one-year-old husband have been left reeling and can't afford even the most basic home care. Any help you can provide will go a long way towards providing them stability in the twilight of their lives."

The funding campaign raised more than $1,000 of its $100,000 goal in a day. "Despite the recent trauma Rella has faced, she remains in good spirits," read an update shared yesterday.

Odalis Lopez
Odalis Lopez, 56, was booked into the Miami-Dade County jail last Friday on multiple charges including theft from an elderly victim and financial exploitation. Miami-Dade County jail