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Nurse Stole More Than $100K From Holocaust Survivor: Cops

She worked for couple, is accused of stealing their life savings
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 7, 2019 5:45 PM CDT
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An image from the GoFundMe campaign for the Hermans.   (GoFundMe)

(Newser) – Over a period of seven years, Odalis Lopez worked as a certified nursing assistant for Holocaust survivor Rella Herman and her husband, Leonard, becoming close to the Florida couple over the years—and, authorities say, stealing their life savings. "This was her only friend. This is someone she saw more than anybody," says the couple's grandson, Micah Herman, of Lopez, 56. She had access to the couple's credit cards, and authorities say she used them to spend an incredible amount of money—including $116,322 on Publix purchases. "This one is really all about greed," Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle tells WTAP. "Selfish indulgence, it seems like, based on the purchases that we’ve seen." Lopez was arrested Friday; the Hermans' family members had eventually noticed the odd charges.

"Beginning as early as 2011, her caretaker started exploiting her fragile condition by stealing small amounts of money," a GoFundMe campaign set up by Micah Herman explains. "Then in 2015, Rella's only son passed away from cancer. The caretaker seized upon Rella’s fresh grief and began making exorbitant fraudulent charges with Rella’s credit cards that she unknowingly paid off." Lopez has been charged with grand theft and elderly financial exploitation, both felonies. Micah Herman notes that his grandmother, who is 93, lost her mother at Auschwitz, so much of the money came from reparation checks from Germany. "This was reparation money. We’re talking about what the German government gives to survivors," he says. "How could you do something like this?" He tells NBC Miami the couple's retirement funds were also depleted. (Read more Florida stories.)

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