A woman accused of bilking an elderly St. Croix man out of at least $60,000 has been apprehended in Florida on a V.I. Superior Court arrest warrant, Attorney General Denise George announced Thursday.
Lissette Algarin-Felix, 52, waived an extradition hearing held in Florida and will be released from custody to Justice Department agents and transported back to the U.S. Virgin Islands to face the criminal charges, said George.
Algarin-Felix was arrested Friday at her home in Davie, Florida, by U.S. Marshals from the Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force on a warrant signed by Magistrate Judge Ernest Morris Jr. on March 10, according to the press release.
Algarin-Felix is charged with obtaining money by false pretenses, embezzlement, identity theft, forgery, and counterfeiting, filing or recording forged instruments, conspiracy, grand larceny, acting in assumed character, intentional access, alteration, damage or destruction, and financial exploitation of an elder or dependent adult, the release stated.
She is accused along with her brother, Ricardo Algarin, who was arrested on April 6 in Miami, Florida, on similar charges.
“Financial abuse and exploitation of the elderly are among the most egregious of crimes because it involves taking advantage of some of our most vulnerable persons in our community,” said George.
According to an affidavit in support of the arrest warrant, the investigation revealed that Algarin-Felix and Algarin made unauthorized transfers from several of the man’s bank accounts and used personal identification information to obtain money and other personal property.
Another man, Ricardo Felix, was authorized by the victim to perform many duties including handling the elderly man’s personal affairs. Felix notified a family member that he had stopped receiving any of the man’s mail, including his property tax bills at his mailing address at the Kingshill Post Office on St. Croix, according to the affidavit.
An investigation revealed that a change of address form was completed by someone who forged the man’s signature and as a result, the mail had been forwarded to Fort Lauderdale, Florida at the registered address of Algarin-Felix and her husband, who is the younger brother of the caretaker, Thursday’s press release stated.
It was also discovered that a Deed of Gift was on file at the Recorder of Deeds office naming Algarin-Felix as a granddaughter and granting the sole ownership of the victim’s home once his death certificate is filed, the release stated.
However, the victim did secure a will before his passing, which did not list Algarin-Felix or Eddie Felix as beneficiaries, according to the release. The will listed Ricardo Felix, his caretaker, as the recipient of the property and a percentage of funds in his bank account. It listed two others as recipients for the remainder of the funds in the bank account.
“It was discovered that between February 2019 to May, the victim’s bank account was wiped of at least $60,000. The email address and phone number associated with the victim’s bank account were confirmed as Algarin-Felix. The money was then transferred from Algarin-Felix’s account to her brother’s account, Ricardo Algarin,” according to the release.
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 U.S. Virgin Islands is deemed innocent until proven guilty in a court of competent jurisdiction.