Elderly exploitation arrest in Polk County - WFLA News Channel 8

Elderly exploitation arrest in Polk County

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Polk County Sheriff's Deputies arrested a man on charges of elderly fraud and exploitation Tuesday after a nearly year-long investigation.

A Bank of America representative called the Sheriff's Office in January 2012 with the concerns that one of their clients, an 88-year-old woman, may be in danger.

The detectives say they discovered that the woman, who displayed early signs of dementia, was paying large sums of money to Hamilton "James" Watson, 34, and his father, Hamilton "John" Watson, 58, for "roof work" and "renovation."

Neither Watson is a licensed roofing or construction contractor.

Deputies say their investigation revealed that the two men took or were about to take over $200,000 and the woman's car.

The Sheriff's Office issued the arrest warrants for both men Tuesday with the charges of exploitation of the elderly, scheme to defraud and theft from a person 65 years of age or older.

"John" Watson is at the Polk County jail.   "James" Watson may be in Arizona, the investigators said.

The woman receives around-the-clock home care now and is legally incapacitated. 

Sheriff Grady Judd said he will not tolerate the exploitation of the elderly citizens.

"We have one of these low-down scoundrels behind bars and we won't stop until we find the other one.  Taking advantage of innocent people will get you a ride to jail."

The Polk County Sheriff's office urges anyone with information on the whereabouts of "James" Watson to contact them at 863-298-6200.

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