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Police: Man exploited elderly woman with dementia

by Diana Zoga / News 4

Posted on January 22, 2013 at 8:28 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 23 at 8:15 AM

MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo ( -- A St. Peters man is behind bars, accused of scamming an elderly woman out of thousands of dollars. Jeremy McClellan, 38, is charged with financial exploitation of the elderly or disabled.

Maryland Heights Police say the suspect charged the victim hundreds of dollars for simple chores, saying the victim paid the man $325 to $400 to wash dishes. In a probable cause statement, filed in court, police wrote that McClellan "acknowledged that victim was paying him an excessive amount for the jobs he was doing, but claimed the extra amount was in nature of a tip".

The victim's family called police after noticing the woman's car was missing. Police then discovered the victim wrote the man checks that totaled at least $3,610 since last November. Investigators said they requested older bank records to determine how long the victim was paying the suspect.

Police believe the suspect met the victim when he was working on another home in her neighborhood.

"She has senile dementia and it's of the Alzheimer's type, so it's serious and it's very obvious. It was obvious to me within about five minutes of talking to her that she struggled with her memory," said Maryland Heights Detective Kendra House.

McClellan is in jail, being held on a $100,000 cash-only bond.

Det. House says families should check on relatives with dementia, "Go through their financial records, have someone assigned to them."

"Someone who has power of attorney to review their records and make sure no one is taking advantage of them. If you see items missing, checks missing, research it and find out what's going on."