Peggy Sue Chormicle and Kelvin Butler of Fort Lauderdale, Florida were arrested Tuesday after law enforcement officials accused them of forging checks and charging thousands of dollars to debit cards belonging to an elderly woman in their care, reports say. Chormicle, 50, was booked into the Paul Rein Detention Facility on multiple charges, including grand theft, fraud, and exploitation of the elderly. Butler, 52, was booked into the Joseph V. Conte Facility on the same charges. A bail bond of $21,000 has been set for each defendant. It is unclear whether either of the alleged suspects has retained a private criminal defense lawyer.
Reports say Chormicle looked after the 88-year-old victim and even lived in her home for an unspecified period of time. Whether Chormicle is a licensed at-home caregiver or is affiliated with an agency is not certain. It is likewise unclear whether Butler was also living at the residence, nor is it known how Chormicle met the victim. Neither Chormicle nor Butler appears to have commented publicly on the criminal allegations.
Sources indicate that Chormicle and her partner, Butler, failed to keep up with the home’s maintenance while Chormicle lived there. After their arrest, a neighbor took over the estate and told the press that conditions inside were deplorable. The neighbor reported that the home had dog excrement on the floor, that the windows could not be opened, and that the telephone line had been severed. “In order to enter a room,” she explained, “you had to pull boxes out your way because it was just filled with debris.” When question by news sources about the case, the neighbor reportedly stated, “you don’t do that to another human being. You don’t do that to somebody you took in, you befriended.” It is not known whether the neighbor personally knows Chormicle and Butler.
Chormicle and Butler stand accused, not just of neglecting the upkeep of the residence, but of stealing nearly $20,000 from the elderly woman who owned the home. During her time as caretaker, Chormicle, along with Butler, allegedly forged checks under the victim’s name and charged thousands of dollars to the victim’s debit card. Reports did not say how long the alleged theft lasted or how much was taken. However, officials reportedly believe that Chormicle and Butler stole in excess of $10,000 but less than $20,000.
The victim has since been placed in a home for the elderly, reports show. Because of the theft, she is no longer able to pay for the healthcare she could once afford. Her home, because of its purportedly poor condition, may have to be condemned, reports indicate. It is not clear what has become of the dog that once lived at the home.
Chormicle reportedly has been arrested before on multiple occasions, for offenses ranging from theft, prostitution, battery, and possession of marijuana. The details of these prior cases are not immediately available. Butler, likewise, reportedly has a past history of offenses including burglary, grand theft, and cocaine possession.