Man accused of stealing $280,000 from blind woman

AP News
Posted: Apr 13, 2011 7:07 PM
Man accused of stealing $280,000 from blind woman

A Vermont parolee was arrested Wednesday on charges of stealing more than $280,000 from a 98-year-old widow in California who was deaf, blind and senile.

Prosecutors contend that suspect John Thomas Windsor used the woman's credit card and emptied her bank accounts, buying used cars, a Tiffany engagement ring for his girlfriend and a classic record collection.

Windsor, 41, of Costa Mesa also tried to change the woman's trust and take out a loan against the home, which had been paid off for 50 years, prosecutors said.

The attempted loan made bank officials suspicious and they notified authorities.

Windsor was charged Friday with residential burglary, caretaker theft from an elder, fraudulently using an access card, and three counts of forgery, along with sentencing enhancements, said Farrah Emami, a spokeswoman for the Orange County district attorney's office.

If convicted, he could face up to 11 years and eight months in state prison.

Windsor remained jailed Wednesday. Emami said she did not know if he had obtained an attorney.

Windsor's mother was the live-in caretaker for the blind woman, whose full name was not released and who died in 2009 at 99, prosecutors said.

She was 98 in 2007 when Windsor moved into her home without her knowledge and got her to sign over power of attorney, authorities said.

"Medical experts later determined the victim did not have the capacity to sign or understand what she was doing," according to a statement from the district attorney's office.

At the time, Windsor was on parole after serving a sentence in Vermont for fraud and domestic violence. Emami said she did not have further details.