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Police: Funeral Worker Befriends 84-Year-Old Client, Stealing His House & Wiping Out Life Savings

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – An 84-year-old man is out of a home and life savings after police say he was preyed upon by a funeral worker who took advantage of him following his wife's passing.

Police say 57-year-old Maribel Torres is the woman who took it all away.

"In this case Ms. Torres took advantage of an 84-year-old man at one of the weakest points – it was just the day after his wife had passed," Katherine Fernandez Rundle said.

It all started back in August 2019 when the victim met Torres while he was making funeral arrangements.

"She could see that he was obviously not himself, on a whole bunch of different levels, and she began to befriend him," Rundle explained.

Torres reportedly told the victim she knew him. Their new relationship opened the door for Torres to not only file paperwork to take his home but take out business loans under a corporation she created, using the victim's residence. She collected in total over $400,000.

"It was just a good nephew who went back to check up on his uncle that led to this," Rundle told CBS4.

That nephew discovered Torres and her son had moved into the victim's home, which he reported to the authorities.

"His home has technically been sold and borrowed against," Rundle told CBS4.

It will be nearly impossible to get the house back.

Torres is currently facing three felony charges, including elderly exploitation and grand theft. She bonded out Wednesday morning.

Meanwhile, the victim's health has gotten worse.

"I understand now he is at the highest level of Alzheimer's so now the issue is to find him safe space, safe haven," Rundle said.

Rundle worries there may be other victims.

The State Attorney's Office has set up a hotline to get help for suspected cases of elderly exploitation. It's (786) 547-6723.

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