TAMPA, Fla. – Following an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, tile-and-marble worker Jason DeCicco, 45, of Bradenton, was arrested for exploitation of the elderly, a first-degree felony.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “The facts of this case are sickening—the defendant targeted a senior, moved into her home and stole more than $120,000. We must protect seniors from criminals who target them. I am glad my Statewide Prosecutors, working with FDLE, were able to stop this fraud and arrest the suspect. We will aggressively prosecute this case to help ensure the defendant can never again swindle a Florida senior.”
FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen said, “DeCicco established himself in a position of trust, pretending to care for and help the victim, all while he was stealing from her and working to drain her financial resources. Elderly exploitation cases continue to be a priority for FDLE, and I thank Attorney General Ashley Moody and the Office of Statewide Prosecution for their dedication to these cases.”
The investigation shows that DeCicco was initially hired for a bathroom remodel that eventually turned into a home renovation project, although he was not a licensed contractor. DeCicco befriended the elderly customer, eventually moving in with her. The elderly woman, who said DeCicco reminded her of her deceased husband, has dementia and sometimes called DeCicco by her late husband’s name.
FDLE agents say over the span of five years, DeCicco defrauded the woman out of more than $120,000 without completing the renovations.
When the victim’s family asked the court to appoint a professional guardian, DeCicco manipulated the elderly victim into believing the family was not acting in her best interest and that she did not need a guardian. DeCicco worked with an attorney and mortgage broker to refinance the victim’s home mortgage for the remaining equity when the mortgage was nearly paid off. The attorney overcharged the victim for his legal fees without approval from the court and was suspended by The Florida Bar for his involvement.
DeCicco was arrested yesterday by Manatee County Sheriff’s Office on an FDLE warrant and booked into the Manatee County Jail. This case is being prosecuted by Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Office of Statewide Prosecution.