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Daughter Allegedly Steals More than $80,000 from Elderly Mother

12/12/2003

CONTACT: Justin Glover
(850) 413-2832

APOPKA—An Apopka woman stole more than $80,000 from her own mother, according to findings of an investigation by the Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud.

Merrilee Hogan Garrity, 50, of 3045 Fox Hill Drive, Apt.106, was arrested this week and charged with scheme to defraud, grand theft in the second degree and exploitation of the elderly. She was arrested Tuesday and booked into the Orange County Jail. If convicted on all of the charges, she faces up to 45 years in prison, in addition to fines and restitution.

According to investigators with the Division of Insurance Fraud, Garrity stole the funds from her 75 year-old mother's annuity accounts between February 2000 and June 2001 by forging her mother's name to cash surrender withdrawal forms and intercepting the checks mailed to her mother's address. Garrity then deposited the money into her own bank account.

Garrity's mother stated she did not have any knowledge that her daughter had taken the annuity monies until March 2002 when she made an inquiry to John Hancock Financial Services to check on the value of her accounts.

The case will be tried in Orange County by the State Attorney's Office in the 9th Judicial Circuit of Florida.