WINTER PARK, Fla. - A Winter Park lawyer is going to prison after detectives say he stole millions of dollars from a 108-year-old woman. The victim, Helen Kuhn passed away earlier this month, but the Orange County Sheriff's Office says she caught on to the fraud back in 2019.
"She’s excellent, beautiful woman, strong woman," said Wandys Vazquez Suares, who lived across the street from Kuhn.
Living in Orlando, investigators say Kuhn had taught school for 35 years, flew planes until the age of 93, and drove a car until 101. A few years ago, detectives say she noticed a problem with her finances. They say her former lawyer, Matthew Roby, fraudulently gained power of attorney over Kuhn, then drained more than two million dollars from her accounts.
Roby was disbarred and will now spend five years in prison.
"Maybe he has to do life," Vazquez Suares suggested. "It’s not good stealing from people. That is wrong."
"Unfortunately, this is not the first case of exploitation of an attorney," said Karen Murillo, advocacy manager for AARP Florida. "I’ll tell you that exploitation occurs based off the proximity to an older or vulnerable adult."
According to AARP, this type of exploitation is only becoming more common.
"Sadly, exploitation is on the rise," Murillo said. "What we are seeing is that it has increased nationally, there’s an average loss for victims of exploitation of about $120,000 annually. We’re seeing that one in ten Americans are the victim of some sort of elder abuse."
Detectives say they have been able to recover $2.4 million of that stolen money.