A San Antonio man was arrested in connection with what investigators characterized as an elderly fraud scheme against a 66-year-old Selma woman.
Police jailed 36-year-old Patrick Farmer on multiple charges, and a grand jury handed up indictments this month. According to a news release from the Tri-County Fraud Task Force, Farmer allegedly bought items, such as gold bars, with the victim’s money and tried to cash out her investments, which amounted to more than $40,000 in financial losses to the elderly woman.
“Evidence shows Farmer sought to exert his influence over the victim over time by isolating her from family and friends,” the statement read. “As his influence increased, the victim became increasingly dependent upon him to handle her finances and take care of her daily needs. This made her an easy target for financial abuse.”
Authorities arrested Farmer in June and grand jurors handed up indictments Sept. 3, said Sgt. Robert Wagner of the Selma Police Department, who is commander of the task force.
Farmer faces one count each of fraudulent use or possession of identifying information 10 to 15 items on the elderly; theft of property between $30,000 and $150,000; exploitation of the elderly; and tampering with physical evidence with intent to impair.
Farmer turned in a cell phone to investigators and then did a factory reset on it so they couldn’t gain access to information stored on the device to earn the tampering charge, Wagner said.
A four-month investigation uncovered Farmer’s alleged plot, Wagner said.
Farmer did odd jobs for the woman and befriended her after her husband died in 2018, the statement read.
Farmer entered her life around the spring of 2019, Wagner said. Farmer eventually moved into the victim’s home where he had access to her identifying information and finances, the task force’s statement read.
“Utilizing the information, Farmer opened and subsequently used lines of credit while the victim’s health declined,” according to the statement. “Because of the victim’s diminishing mental and physical capacity, she became ill and was admitted to the hospital where a vigilant hospital case worker notified proper authorities and initiated an investigation.”
Even as the investigation progressed, Farmer reportedly continued to use the victim’s information and access her funds, Wagner said. He did so while the woman received medical treatment, the task force commander said.
“She was admitted into the hospital in January 2020,” Wagner said. “He was ordered by the state to leave that house around that time, but he still used her information from January 2020 on up until we arrested him in June.”
Along with the hospital social worker, the victim’s state appointed guardian helped investigators learn of the alleged fraud. Vigilance in caring for elderly members of society and protecting them from predators should be a collaborative effort involving authorities and the community, the news statement read.
“The Tri-County Fraud Task Force wants to remind the public to pay close attention to the elderly community and elderly family members in protecting their finances and their health,” the statement read.
The task force is made up of investigators from Cibolo, Guadalupe County, Live Oak, New Braunfels, Schertz, Selma and Universal City. Agents with the United States Secret Service’s San Antonio office helped arrest farmer.
“The most important thing for what the Tri-County Fraud Task Force does is we like to educate and inform the community when we investigate these cases,” Wagner said. “The elderly community gets take advantage of all the time and we want to let the community know hey you have to take care of your elderly because it happens all the time and it happens with all types of schemes.”
Farmer remained held Thursday under bonds totaling $150,000 at the Guadalupe County Jail, according to online jail records.