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Port Charlotte couple accused of attempting to exploit elderly man

Posted at 9:09 PM, Jul 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-22 21:14:21-04

NORTH PORT, Fla. — A Port Charlotte couple is accused of attempting to exploit an 80-year-old man from North Port.

Rozana and Joaquin Venegas were arrested last week after police say they tried to steal close to $250,000 from the victim.

The couple were the victim's caregivers.

It was a trip to the Sarasota Memorial Hospital back in January that led the family to become suspicious that something was going on.

"They brought him to the hospital, he had sores on his body, likely from lack of care," said Madison Heid, a spokesperson for the North Port Police Department.

According to officials, Rozana and Joaquin Venegas had been caring for the man since most of his family lives on the east coast of Florida.

"While he was there, they put in for power of attorney which was granted without the family's knowledge," said Heid.

According to an affidavit report, Rozana allegedly told hospital staff that the victim had no living family.

"On that very same day, once that was granted, that's when they made that large withdrawal of $250,000," said Heid.

Officials say the couple put that money into their personal bank account.

The transaction was ultimately reversed after the victim's family contacted the bank and the lawyer, who granted the Venegas the power of attorney.

However, further investigation revealed there were also other checks made out to the Venegas signed by the victim for home goods and hearing aids that were never purchased.

"They were all in kind of smaller amounts that they were able to slip by more easily than that large withdrawal, but it turns out they were just using those to pay off their personal bill," said Heid.

Rozana and Joaquin Venegas are charged with felony exploitation of the elderly for over $100,000 but could face more charges.

"He is extremely hard of hearing, that's one of his ailments, you have to speak very loudly for him to understand anything, and at some point, he was just nodding with them and trusting what they were saying," said Heid.

Officials say the victim is doing well and is recovering at a rehab center.

Rozana and Joaquin Venegas are out of the Charlotte County Jail on a $50,000 bond each.

The North Port Police Department asks anyone who may have previously worked with the couple or has any other information to call or email Detective Chris Clark at or 941-429-7349.