SANDY -- Prosecutors have charged a man accused of stealing $70,000 from his blind grandmother. When he was confronted by a relative, the man allegedly admitted to taking the money to support a drug habit.
Last week, prosecutors charged 42-year-old David Simonich with multiple felonies, including exploitation of a disabled or elder adult and forgery.
According to charging documents, Simonich began helping his grandmother, who lived in an assisted living center in Sandy. He was allegedly helping her pay bills and gained access to her account information.
Simonich's mother, who has power of attorney over the grandmother's banking accounts, noticed numerous fraudulent withdrawals from online banking services. The investigation showed that between June of last year and July of this year, $70,000 had been stolen.
"It's a very sad case. This is an 86-year-old woman who obviously needs assistance with day-to-day living, and she was relying on her family. She was relying on the people she should have been most able to trust out of anyone else in the world," said Alicia Cook, spokeswoman for the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office.
Cook said prosecutors are seeing more cases of elder abuse, partly because there's more awareness about the issue and more people are reporting the crime.
The crime is a serious offense. In Simonich's case, if convicted, he could spend up to 40 years in prison.
KSL News went to Simonich's home in Sandy, but no one answered the door. His next court appearance is set for Nov. 16.