A Florida woman was charged Friday with stealing over $1.1 million from an elderly woman for whom she was working as an unlicensed caregiver, officials said.
Anna Bullinger, 55, was charged in Sarasota County on a charge of exploitation of the elderly.
Investigators said the victim was Peggy Nardone, a Nokomis widow who was 94 when she died in June of last year.
Nardone had hired Bullinger in 2014 to drive her to doctor’s appointment and run errands to the bank and supermarket, court papers showed. She worked 40 hours a week and was paid $20 an hour.
Anna Bullinger, 55, was charged with exploitation of the elderly.
(Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office)
“It is shocking. The only reason they found out is because the last check she wrote was the day after the victim died, which was $90,000,” Carlos Verondi, a detective with the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, told Fox 13 Tampa.
The sheriff’s office issued a news release Friday that said starting in January of 2015, Bullinger, of Sarasota, was able to steal over $500,000 from Nardone by cashing 147 checks.
“Bullinger is also suspected of transferring a trust account valued at $650,000 to her daughter in January 2019,” the news release said. “Collectively, the amount stolen from the victim totals $1,102,307.”
Bullinger was arrested on New Year’s Eve and released the same day on bail.
She denied the charges in a brief interview with Fox 13 at her front door on Friday.
“That’s not true. Goodbye,” she said.
Linda Howell, a neighbor of Nardone’s, told WWSB-TV she used to see Bullinger and other caretakers come and go.
“We had a little episode where the caretaker broke down crying to my husband about how awful it was that she was having to spend her life taking care of Peggy,” she told the station.