Woman Steals $400K From Elderly Cancer Patient by Pretending to Be Daughter

Police arrested a Florida woman on Friday after she defrauded more than $400,000 away from an elderly cancer patient.

Ana Nunez posed as the daughter of an unnamed 70-year-old cancer patient in order to visit them in the hospital. While visiting, Nunez is accused of manipulating the patient into granting her power of attorney by signing several documents, according to WPLG News. Additionally, she also signed away all of her possessions to the stranger, including her home and bank accounts containing roughly $437,000, Local 10 News reported.

Nunez now faces charges of organized fraud, exploitation of the elderly, and theft from the elderly of more than $50,000. She has prior convictions on her records for grand theft and forging documents, and she also previously served a probation period that ended in 2019.

Nunez's son, Pablo Figueroa, was also allegedly involved in carrying out his mother's scheme. He was arrested earlier in May.

florida woman defrauds cancer patient
A Florida woman was arrested on Friday for allegedly defrauding a cancer patient of over $400,000 by pretending to be their daughter. Above, a representational image of a hospital bed. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Newsweek reached out to the Miami-Dade Police Department for comment.

Elder abuse of the variety perpetrated by Nunez is common in the U.S., with FBI data indicating that senior citizens were scammed out of roughly $1 billion in 2020 alone. A report from ABC News also found that elderly people in Florida are among the most commonly targeted, alongside those in Texas and California. They are also typically scammed out of larger amounts than younger people targeted by similar schemes.

"Each year, millions of elderly Americans fall victim to some type of financial fraud or internet scheme, such as romance scams, tech support fraud, and lottery or sweepstake scams," the FBI wrote in its report. "Criminals gain their targets' trust or use tactics of intimidation and threats to take advantage of their victims. Once successful, scammers are likely to keep a scheme going because of the prospect of significant financial gain."

In July 2021, a man in Long Island, New York, was caught stealing the identities of three senior citizens who were all residents of the Atria Bay Shore assisted living home, between the ages of 90 and 94. Using their personal information, Darrel Sharpeson, 37, applied for numerous loans and purchased a dozen iPhones. The first instance of this activity was traced back to October 2019.

"We are concerned by these allegations, and immediately began an internal review upon learning of the situation," Jason Shott, the regional vice president of Atria Senior Living, wrote in a statement to Newsweek. "We confirmed that an individual, who was briefly employed at our community more than two years ago, may have lived with the person alleged to have committed these crimes. We have notified police of this connection and will continue to provide any support to their investigation."