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Local man exploits woman in her 90s, stealing over $16k

Ocala, January 31, 2024 — Ocala Police Detective Kern recently concluded an investigation into the exploitation and grand theft of a woman in her 90s residing at The Villas at Spanish Oaks. The elderly tenant had accumulated rent delinquency dating back to July 2023, prompting concern from the tenant manager.

The investigation revealed that 53-year-old Jose Ortiz Garcia had recently moved in with the elderly woman. Despite residing a few houses down prior to moving in, the two were not acquainted. Mr. Garcia claimed to have moved in to take care of her.

In January 2023, the elderly woman unknowingly signed a power of attorney document designating Mr. Garcia as her agent, believing it was solely for medical purposes. Subsequent evidence suggested that Mr. Garcia misused the power of attorney, resulting in mismanagement of the victim’s finances. This led to unpaid rent, utility bills, and unauthorized personal expenses amounting to several thousand dollars.

Detective Kern’s scrutiny of the victim’s bank statements uncovered a series of unauthorized transactions, including restaurant payments, ATM withdrawals, convenience store purchases, CashApp transactions, and cell phone bill payments. The victim, who had her bills set on automatic payments, was unaware of Mr. Garcia’s financial decisions until discovering her account consistently in the negative early each month.

It became evident that Mr. Garcia was not utilizing the victim’s funds for her well-being, as mandated by the power of attorney document, but rather for personal expenses exceeding $16,500. Based on his removal of automatic payments, failure to cover monthly bills, and personal use of her funds, Detective Kern determined probable cause for Mr. Garcia’s arrest.

Jose Ortiz Garcia now faces charges of exploitation of the elderly, grand theft, and criminal use of personal identification. The case underscores the importance of vigilant citizens who report suspicious activities, and Detective Kern’s commendable work in uncovering financial exploitation.

The Ocala Police Department encourages individuals with relevant information about Jose Ortiz Garcia’s financial management or power of attorney dealings to come forward. They can contact detectives at 352-369-7000 to contribute to the ongoing investigation.

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