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MARGATE, Fla. – A Florida woman gained the confidence of her 88-year-old neighbor then became her caregiver and stole more than $45,000 from her, investigators said.

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Margate police said that Wendy Cordaro, 54, became the victim’s caregiver for nearly a year despite having no previous experience, WPLG reported.

Cordaro used the victim’s debit card to withdraw $14,000 from her account. She also wrote checks totaling $23,745 from January to October last year.

The victim’s brother contacted police in October when he found out his sister’s bank account had been emptied. Many of the ATM withdrawals were from $100 to $1,200. The checks were in amounts ranging from $450 to $3,800.

The victim told police that Cordaro was her caregiver for nearly a year. Cordaro said the money was needed to buy groceries, pay bills and purchase household items. Police said the victim likely lacked the mental capacity to understand how much money was taken from her.

Cordaro was arrested and charged with grand theft from an elderly person, exploitation of an elderly person and organized scheme to defraud.