BELTON — The Temple owner of a lawn care service was indicted on June 27 on a charge of theft of property after he allegedly overcharged an elderly woman with dementia more than $47,000 for lawn care.
Lus Fuentes, 60, was indicted for theft of property valued at more than $30,000 but less than $150,000 in a case brought by the Belton Police Department.
According to the indictment, Fuentes used deception to obtain possession of a large, unspecified amount of money from an elderly woman in a scheme that began in 2013 and continued until late 2017.
The woman’s son contacted the Belton Police Department on Jan. 23 and said his elderly mother who has dementia was deceptively overcharged for yard work at her home by L&J Lawn Service. The lawn service reportedly advertises a “senior discount” of $3,600 per year, and allegedly charged the woman that amount multiple times a year with additional charges for unknown reasons, an arrest affidavit said.
Over a period of seven years, Fuentes reportedly charged the woman $76,145 for lawn service. In adding up the charges, the total amount overpaid for contracted services from 2013 through 2018 was $47,345, the affidavit said.
The warrant for Fuentes’ arrest was issued May 8.
Fuentes was released from the Bell County Jail after he posted $10,000 bail May 9, Bell County Chief Deputy Chuck Cox said Monday.
Fuentes said Tuesday he had no comment on the case in a brief conversation with a Telegram reporter. He added that he has an attorney in the case.
City of Belton spokesman Paul Romer said the Belton Police Department thoroughly investigates incidents of financial abuse against senior citizens.
“Most people have a common decency that helps them recognize and fulfill the needs of other people, including needs that arise when dementia is present,” Romer said Tuesday.
“Criminal charges are certainly appropriate whenever illegal, wanton behavior is present,” he said. “The vulnerable are often targets and must be protected.”
The Better Business Bureau lists businesses that are accredited, and those businesses can be sorted by distance or location. Several Temple and Belton lawn care businesses were listed as accredited by the Better Business Bureau.