Miami caregiver Eduardo Ravelo was sentenced to 17 years in prison for stealing $500,000 from a blind but wealthy widow, Irene Boyansky, the Daily Mail is reporting.
The 36-year-old, who had been taking care of the woman for over 10 years, spent over $90,000 renting exotic cars, $43,000 on high-end jewelry, and over $2,000 at high-end lingerie store Agent Provocateur, among other high-dollar indulgences.
Ravelo stole the money over the course of three years from Boyansky, mixing sleeping drugs with her orange juice to leave her disoriented and under his control.
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He wrote the checks himself and went as far as to even impersonate the wealthy widow on the phone when a call came in from an American Express employee asking about her excessive spending. Ravelo pretended to hand over the phone to a fictitious grandson to throw the financial company off his scent.
“Will you talk to my grandson, I give you permission to speak to him, I don’t feel so good,” he said throwing in a fake cough for emphasis.
Amazingly, Boyansky recovered her sight after a successful surgery at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami and discovered that she had been scammed by the very man meant to take care of her. Ravelo confessed after his arrest, claiming that he stole from the wealthy woman because he was underpaid. The 88-year-old woman died before trial and did not witness a jury convict Ravelo for the fraudulent use of identification, theft from the elderly, and money laundering.
Her three sons and four grandchildren are more pained that Boyansky, who moved from the U.S. to Algeria, did not have the money to travel and spend more time with her family. Prosecutor Kathryn Olson said that “he not only stole her money, but stole her time way from her family.”
Financial investigator Ed Gutman said the amount of money spent between 2011 and 2013 by the former caretaker was staggering. Ravelo had spent on driving exotic cars like Lamborghinis, BMWs, Audis, Porches, and Land Rovers.
He had spent money on luxury watches in high-end stores like Mayor and Omega and on nipple pasties at a Bal Harbor store for as much as $300. He had also spent thousands of dollars on designer eyewear, electronics, paintball equipment, furniture, and even iTunes music.
Ravelo’s case is not the first case of a blind person getting robbed. A former People’s United Bank Employee, Juvan Cunningham, also stole as much as $178,000 from an 88-year-old blind customer. The woman had relied on the 34-year-old to help with her transactions. He had leverage on this to make illegal house calls to get her to unknowingly sign certain documents that diverted her money to him. Assistant District Attorney Peter Rienzi confirmed that between November 2011 and May 2013, Cunningham had unlawfully authorized the withdrawal of $150,000 in 50 transactions from the woman’s account, according to the New York Daily News.
In similar news, Sharon McNeil robbed a 103-year-old woman, roughing her up and stealing her shopping cart and handbag which contained $30 in cash. Judge Ralph Fabrizio had expressed shock when he was informed of the age of McNeil’s victim.
“Oh my goodness, Oh my goodness,” he had muttered.
According to the District Attorney Michael Duffy, the 33-year-old assailant had waited for the old woman to get her mail before following her upstairs in an elevator and forcefully gaining entry into her apartment, according to the New York Daily News.
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