PINECREST, FLA. (WSVN) – An elderly man in Pinecrest is speaking out against a caretaker who pleaded guilty after ripping off he and his late wife’s life savings and his wife’s Holocaust reparation money.
Leonard Herman, 92, is mourning the loss of his wife, Rella Herman, who died nearly two weeks ago.
“We were married, me and my wife, for 72 years,” he said. “My wife was a very good woman.”
The couple loved each other so much that when they slept, they held hands.
Rella was described as tough and as a loving mother and grandmother after living through the Holocaust, when she lost her own mother in Auschwitz.
“We had 72 years of good luck until now,” Herman said. “She was a survivor.”
Rella and Leonard also survived crimes against them much later in life.
Odalis Lopez, the caretaker and nurse for Rella, convinced the couple she could be trusted with their credit cards to shop for their needs.
Instead, she spent their money on personal trips to Publix, restaurants, gift cards and Harley Davidson purchases, charging well over $100,000 of her employers’ money over several year.
Much of the funds blown were part of the Hermans’ life savings and Holocaust reparation money from the German government.
“They convince you,” Herman said. “I’m surprised that she got away with it.”
Lopez appeared in court on Oct. 9 as part of a plea agreement.
“She is pleading guilty because she is guilty,” court documents stated.
7News first broke the story of Lopez’s arrest in 2019 for elderly exploitation and grand theft.
Sixteen months later, she was not given jail time due to being a first-time offender and coronavirus concerns, but she had to pay $25,000 to the Hermans and owes over $100,000.
7News knocked on Lopez’s door in an attempt to comment on the story, but a man who answered the door closed it before saying a word.
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle described Lopez’s actions as “selfish indulgence” following her initial arrest.
The state said it wanted to resolve the case with a plea to get the Herman family the money they are owed as soon as possible.
Herman said he is grateful to have been surrounded by a loving family through it all.
“We’re glad it’s over,” Herman said. “Without them, there’d be no family. I’d just be another person trying to find his way.”
Lopez is currently on probation, and she must also stay away from the Herman family.
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