News from BSO

BROKEN TRUST – Woman Arrested for Exploiting the Elderly

BSO Case Number: TM02-7-2424
PIO Number: 02-11-16
Date: 1/1/01 – 7/29/02
Place of Occurrence: Suntrust Banks within Broward County

Victim(s):

  • Isabelle Reese, 3/25/1901, female, 2715 NW 53 Street, Tamarac (DECEASED)

Suspect(s):

  • Joellen “Jody” Vrooman, 47, 2/9/55, female, 2704 NW 55 Street, Tamarac

Description of Incident:

Broward Sheriff's Office abuse and neglect detectives arrested a caretaker who stole several thousand dollars from a 101-year-old Tamarac woman she was entrusted to look after.

While employed as an aide for Isabelle Reese, who died last Wednesday, BSO detectives said Joellen Vrooman accessed Reese’s Suntrust bank account by writing out checks then making Reese sign them. From January 1, 2001 to July 29, 2002,Vrooman cashed 109 of the checks written to her, totaling more than $55,000. During the same time period, she wrote out an additional 56 checks to cash or to the victim, totaling nearly $31,000.

During the course of the investigation, Reese told BSO detectives her aide, “Jody”, was stealing from her. Reese said Vrooman was paid $500 a week, which is roughly $41,000 for the time period in question. But, detectives said Vrooman took approximately $86,000, more than double her salary. Reese told BSO investigators that Vrooman told her she needed the extra money to buy a new car to take her (the victim) to the doctor.

The exploitive activity came to light in July 2002, when an alert bank teller became suspicious during one of the transactions and discovered a large number of cash withdrawals from the victim’s account.

Vrooman faces one count of Exploitation of the Elderly, a second-degree felony. She was arrested Wednesday morning at her house in Tamarac. If found guilty, Vrooman could spend up to 15 years in prison and/or pay up to $10,000 in fines.

INVESTIGATORS: Abuse & Neglect Det. J. Murray, CI
THIS REPORT BY: Veda Coleman-Wright/PIO

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