He didn't have to fool anyone this time; he was her closest caretaker, after all. On an almost nightly basis, he’d park safely outside the view of every surveillance camera, walk to her bank’s drive-through ATM, and clumsily place a yellow Post-It note over its camera. For added(and, as you will imminently learn, necessary) protection, he wore all black and donned a ski mask, hat, and gloves.
Only the small slit exposing Michael’s eyes behind thin wire glasses betrayed any hint of his identity. He withdrew the daily limit, $500, before dropping by Harriet’s other bank to repeat the process, as he had for over a year. After depleting the checking accounts, he’d access them online and transfer money in from her savings. In addition to the $165,000 steadily withdrawn in this fashion, he spent another $40,000 routinely maximizing and paying down her credit cards.
Harriet was neither rich nor careless in her affairs. She lived frugally, saved scrupulously, and never left the room without her purse. Her closest friends knew she pinned an envelope concealing her cash to the inside her of nightgown before bed. A woman who mowed her lawn into her eighties, Harriet knew the value of both a dollar and hard work. For over fifty years, she invested what she could in real estate. In addition to her home, Harriet owned three other houses in town, a beach cottage, and a mobile home park in South Carolina. The rents she earned leasing them yielded a tidy income. Michael’s mother rented one of those houses.
Harriet’s largely untreated Alzheimer’s disease had been progressing for years
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