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Some warning indicators of the monetary exploitation of the aged.
Melanie Payne/The Information-Press

“I do not need to die in a nursing house.”

That was why Janet Powers and her husband, William, purchased a home in Lehigh Acres the place their son, Ryan Todd Powers, was dwelling. The plan, when the couple might not reside independently of their manufactured residence in Alva, was to maneuver right into a mom-in-regulation suite on the North Avenue home. There, they might stay out their remaining years – cared for and surrounded by household.

The couple signed a sturdy energy of lawyer giving their son entry to their funds. When Ryan bought their house in Alva, the $seventy two,000 was supposed for use for reworking the North Avenue residence and for his mother and father’ revenue and care.

Paperwork filed with the Lee County Circuit Courtroom inform a special story. In response to the data, the youthful Powers spent the cash and his mom’s Social Safety to purchase pizza, lease films and pay for his cellphone. He left his mother and father in nursing houses refusing to pay the payments. And when William Powers died, Ryan wouldn’t pay the funeral residence. William Powers’ body went unclaimed for 90 days. Finally, Lee County picked up the remains and Powers was cremated at taxpayer expense.

In September, a Lee County jury found Ryan Powers, 41, guilty on four counts of first-degree exploitation involving an elderly person. He was sentenced Monday to 20 years in state prison.

More: Son gets 20-year prison sentence for stealing parents’ money

Investigators said Ryan Todd Powers sold his parents’ home in Alva for $72,000 and kept the cash. (Photo: Lee County Property Appraiser)

Power of attorney

Ryan was Janet and William’s only living child. Janet thought William coddled him too much. She questioned the wisdom of buying a home for Ryan, his wife, Brandy, and their children to live in, she told Earl Rutland, a law enforcement investigator in the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. But she went along with her husband’s plan.

The couple, both in their early 70s, paid an attorney to draft a Durable Power of Attorney giving Ryan control over their financial and legal affairs. Two months later, Ryan redirected Janet Powers’ $808 monthly benefit checks from the couple’s joint checking account to the one in his and his mother’s names.  Over the next 10 months, Ryan used a debit card 136 times to tap the account for cash and to pay for purchases at places such as convenience stores and a pawn shop. 

More: Man accused of grand theft auto, police say

In early 2016, William Powers told Ryan to sell the couple’s trailer in Alva and use the proceeds to remodel the Lehigh house, still in the elder Powers’ names, so they could move out of the nursing homes and live together.

William was in a nursing home in North Fort Myers, more than 100 miles away from Janet who had been…