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Son accused of bilking mom, 75, of $40,000
Authorities say the 37-year-old man sold the Spring Hill woman's 1998 Honda and got credit cards with her identity.
By JOEL ANDERSON, Times Staff Writer
Published January 31, 2008
SPRING HILL - The problems seemed to arise shortly after Dierdre Welsh welcomed her troubled 37-year-old son back into her Spring Hill home in May.
Already suffering from dementia and alcoholism, authorities say, Dierdre Welsh soon started lashing out at both her out-of-town daughter and a caregiver. The caregiver found credit cards issued to Welsh under her son's pillows. A couple of expensive rugs, among other pricey items, disappeared from the home. And the elderly woman's 1998 Honda was sold.
Authorities believe these changes were no coincidence.
Sean Patrick Welsh, of Spring Hill, remained behind bars Wednesday afternoon after the Hernando County Sheriff's Office accused him of bilking more than $40,000 in property and money from his ailing 75-year-old mother.
Welsh was arrested Tuesday and faces one count of exploitation of the elderly, nine counts of identity theft, two of fraudulent use of a credit card, two for dealing in stolen property and one for grand theft. He was in the county jail in lieu of bonds totaling $44,000.
Two messages left at the home of Dierdre Welsh were not returned Wednesday evening.
Dierdre Welsh's daughter, Bridget Welsh, who has power of attorney but lives out of state and frequently travels outside of the country, began to discover evidence of fraud in mid June - a month after her brother, Sean, moved into the home with their mother, authorities say.
Meanwhile, the home aide noticed a change in Dierdre Welsh around the same time. Welsh started reacting angrily to the caregiver and her daughter, said an arrest report. The aide believed Sean Welsh had convinced his mother the women were "doing things" to her.
Sean Welsh, who is unemployed, allegedly opened at least nine accounts using his mother's personal information, including credit cards with Tribute MasterCard, Citi Advantage, Chase, Circuit City, among others. As an example, authorities say, Welsh wrote a check for $1,469.67 at Circuit City on July 29 for a computer, an Xbox video game system and possibly an Apple iPod.
Welsh later pawned the computer at Florida Pawn Brokers in Spring Hill for $200, the report said.
He also sold his mother's car for $4,000 in September to a man he met while working at an Applebees, authorities say. The man, Bruce Wilds, told detectives that Dierdre Welsh was there to sign over the title of the car to him. Wilds said he knew the woman was "not with it" but didn't know she suffered from dementia.
Wilds, who is in the county jail on unrelated charges, also told authorities that Sean Welsh sometimes stayed with him when his sister came to town and that Welsh had a drug problem.
Detectives are still investigating the scope of the alleged thefts, including more than $30,000 that Welsh is accused of trying to steal from his mother. An interview with Dierdre Welsh, detectives say, revealed the woman had little clue as to what was going on.