On Friday, V.I. Attorney General Denise George announced the arrest of Ricardo Algarin by V.I. Department of Justice Special Agents. Algarin was arrested on April 6 in Miami, Florida, on several charges, including financial exploitation and defrauding an elderly man by taking advantage of the man’s deteriorated condition.
A warrant has been issued for Algarin’s accomplice Lissette Felix. According to the DOJ Special Investigation Division agents, Algarin and Felix defrauded the man and stole over $70,000.
Algarin is charged with obtaining money by false pretenses, embezzlement, identity theft, forgery, filing or recording forged instruments, two counts of conspiracy, grand larceny, acting in assumed character, intentional access, alteration, damage or destruction, two counts of financial exploitation of an elder or dependent adult, and two counts possession of stolen property.
During Algarin’s Advice of Rights hearing, Magistrate Judge Ernest Morris set Algarin’s bail at $25,000. However, after hearing arguments, he granted the defense’s motion of the posting of 10 percent ($2,500.00) with the remainder unsecured, completion of a Waiver of Extradition, and the standard conditions of the court.
According to an affidavit, the investigation revealed that Algarin and Felix made unauthorized transfers from several of the victim’s bank accounts and used personal identification information to obtain money and other personal property. In addition, the victim authorized Felix to perform many duties, including handling his personal affairs. Finally, Felix notified a family member that he had stopped receiving any of the victim’s mail, including his property tax bills, at the Kingshill Post Office on St. Croix, according to Friday’s press release from the Attorney General’s Office.
After an investigation, it was revealed that a change of address form was completed by someone who forged the victim’s signature. As a result, the mail had been forwarded to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at the registered address of Lissette Felix and her husband, who is the younger brother of the caretaker, Ricardo Felix. It was also discovered that a Deed of Gift was on file at the Recorder of Deeds office, naming Lissette Felix as a granddaughter and granting the sole ownership of the victim’s home once his death certificate is filed. However, the victim did secure a will before his passing. The signed and notarized will did not list Lissette Felix or Eddie Felix as beneficiaries, according to the press release. Instead, the will listed Ricardo Felix, his caretaker, as the recipient of the property and a percentage of funds in his bank account, the release stated. He recorded two others as recipients for the remainder of the funds in the bank account, it said.
It was discovered that between February 2019 to May 2019, the victim’s bank account was missing at least $60,000, according to the release. The email address and phone number associated with the victim’s bank account were confirmed as Lissette Felix’s. The money was then transferred from Lissette Felix’s account to her brother’s account, Ricardo Algarin, the release stated. The victim suffered from many ailments and eventually passed away on Nov. 6, 2019.
George reminds the public that any person charged with a crime in the Virgin Islands is considered to be innocent until proven guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction.