William Tinnnell of Broward County, Florida was arrested recently after for allegedly defrauding an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s out of $3,000, news sources report. This is Tinnell’s second arrest on similar charges since last year, according to the press. Four other people were also arrested as part of the scheme, but their identities were not released. Tinnell was booked into the Broward County Main Jail on charges of fraud. He is being held without bail bond. The press did not name an attorney for Tinnell.
According to reports, Tinnell was arrested in 2012 after he and several other people defrauded as many as three elderly citizens out of $20,000. As part of the scheme, Tinnell and his conspirators allegedly offered the elderly victims home improvement and maintenance services. “They knock on doors as solicitors and they see who comes to the door,” a police spokesperson said. “This one is heinous to me because you’re taking advantage of the elderly people.” The suspects would then charge the senior victims inflated prices, sources indicate.
In one instance, Tinnell and the conspirators charged an elderly man $1,225 for yard work and clearing trees, according to reports. “It’s appalling,” a family member of the victim said. “[Tinnell and the suspects] are really victimizing these people in a horrible way.” It is not clear how long it took for the fraud to be discovered.
Police later arrested Tinnell for the fraud. It is unclear whether the other conspirators were arrested as well. “They’re the lowest of the low,” the family member said. “They’re taking advantage of a vulnerable individual, just like you would a child.”
In this latest incident, Tinnell and four other conspirators collected around $3,000 from an elderly Dania Beach woman who was suffering from Alzheimer’s, reports say. The group purportedly told the victim that they had performed some maintenance work, including fixing an air conditioning unit. The suspects presented the victim with a $3,000 for these services, which she paid, sources say.
According to a spokesperson for Alzheimer’s Association, senior citizens are a prime target for fraud because they often live alone and are easy prey. “If you’re seeing signs and symptoms of memory loss and you’re seeing someone having difficulty managing their finances, it’s important that you speak with an elder law attorney or consult with the Alzheimer’s Association so that we can guide people,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson went on to say that elderly victims sometimes purposefully neglect to report fraud because they want to maintain their independence. “I think they’re fearful that if their families realized that they’ve been scammed that they may want to come in and take over more and more,” the spokesperson commented. “I think there’s a sense of wanting to maintain that independence and not be a victim and not let everybody know they’ve been a victim.”
Police are currently investigating Tinnell’s alleged fraud operation further and searching for additional victims. It remains to be seen whether any of the victims will get their money back. Police have not yet released the names Tinnell’s conspirators.
Source: 4.22.13 Tinnell Fraud.pdf.