Nursing assistant charged with scamming Holocaust survivor out of life savings


SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, Fla. (WSVN/CNN) – A certified nursing assistant in Florida is facing serious charges after police say she stole hundreds of thousands in life savings from a Holocaust survivor and her husband.

Miami-Dade police took 56-year-old Odalis Lopez into custody on Friday. She faces felony charges of grand theft and elderly financial exploitation.

The victims of the nursing assistant’s alleged theft are Rella and Leonard Herman, who are in their early 90s, according to their grandson, Micah Herman.

“My grandmother is a beautiful person and has a beautiful outlook on life. She’s a survivor of the Holocaust,” Micah Herman said. “My grandfather worked as long as he could, until he was 89 years old.”

Odalis Lopez

Police say Lopez, who worked for the Hermans as a certified nursing assistant for seven years, ripped off most of the couple’s savings.

“It was disgusting. She started [spending] just exorbitant amounts of money,” Micah Herman said. “They have been stripped of everything.”

Family members noticed wild spending on the couple credit card statement, including parties, margaritas and gift cards from Publix, Chili’s and Cheesecake Factory. The arrest warrant says the “transactions at Publix were the most significant, totaling $116,322.”

“This one is really all about greed,” said Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle. “Selfish indulgence, it seems like, based on the purchases that we’ve seen.”

Prosecutors say Lopez had access to the couple’s credit cards while providing care and growing closer to the couple over the years.

Micah Herman says he finds it disturbing someone in the nursing profession would take advantage of an elderly couple this way.

“This was her only friend. This is someone she saw more than anybody,” he said.

To make matters worse, Micah Herman says because Rella Herman is a Holocaust survivor who lost her mother at Auschwitz, most of the savings came from reparation checks from the German government.

“This was reparation money. We’re talking about what the German government gives to survivors,” Micah Herman said. “How could you do something like this?”

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the couple recover.

Lopez has bonded out of jail. Her next court hearing is scheduled for Sept. 3.

Copyright 2019 WSVN, Family photos, Miami-Dade Police via CNN. All rights reserved.

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