A Villages woman is in jail after officials say she stole almost $15,000 from the woman she was supposed to be caring for.
Vicki Lee Laspina, 59, was supposed to be taking care of the 92-year-old woman who Laspina says is like a mother to her. Instead, she used the victim’s checking account to make out two cashier checks to herself.
One check totaled $9,679 and the other was a sum of $5,000 totally out to $14,679.00.
The investigation was referred to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office by the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office back in late August after it was determined by Sumter County authorities that the Citizen’s Bank Laspina used located in the Villages was over county lines.
Marion County detectives went to Laspinas residence located at 17020 SE 96 Chapelwood Circle in the Villages on August 26, 2013, to question her about the incident.
Laspina informed detectives that she has been very good friends with the victim for about five years and stated that they were so close, she is like a daughter to the victim.
She confirmed to detectives that she did in fact care for the victim and even went to the bank to be put on the victim’s checking account, but says it was at the victim’s request. Laspina stated that when they went to the bank the victim stayed in the car and a bank employee came out to her in order to have the victim sign paperwork. Laspina admitted that she told the bank official she was the victim’s daughter.
The next day Laspina returned to the bank without the victim and had the two cashier’s checks made out. She claimed that the victim told her she would give her the money but said the victim did not specifically say Laspina could go to the bank and have the checks generated.
When asked about the victim’s mental capacity, Laspina told detectives that she feels the victim has full mental capacity but later said the victim has “good days” and “bad days” when it comes to her memory.
When detectives went to the victim’s house to interview her she stated that she knew why the detectives were there, and then said, “How could a friend rob me of my money”.
The victim told detectives that she remembered going to the bank with Laspina, but says when the bank employee came outside she thought she was only signing a check and did not know Laspina was putting herself on the victim’s checking account.
On August 27 2013, Laspina called the detective and told him over the phone that she knew she was wrong for generating the checks without the victims consent and said she had planned on telling her when the bank statements came in.
The bank official told detectives that at first she didn’t think anything was suspicious about the transaction until Laspin came in to get the checks and was acting strange. The bank employee went to her manager and which the decision was made to contact the victim.
The victim told the bank via telephone that she did not give Laspina permission to have the two cashier checks made and stated she did not know they were there the previous day to put Laspina on her checking account.
Laspina was arrested and charged with one count of Swindle Property Under $20,000 and one count of Larceny from Victim 65 years-of-age or Older.
She was booked into the Marion County Jail and released on a $10,000 bond.