Dundee Ridge Middle School Teacher Charged Multiple Felonies After Stealing More then $66,000 From Her Grandmother | #teacher | #children | #kids

On March 12, 2021,
after a several month long investigation, Polk County Sheriff’s Office Fraud
detectives arrested 40-year-old Laura Pollard Ramos of Winter Haven, who
is a Dundee Ridge Middle Academy teacher, for:

·        Grand theft of a person over 65 years of age

·        Scheming to defraud over $50,000 (F1)

·        Fraudulent use of a credit card (F3)

·        3 counts Criminal use of personal ID (F3)

Ramos was made the
power of attorney for her grandmother in 2013, due to her grandmother’s
declining health. At that time, the victim’s monthly bills averaged $550.00
(for lot rent, cable television, electric, water, and alarm). The victim did
not have any credit cards, and spent between $200-$400 cash per month on
incidentals/spending money. Ramos, as the power of attorney, wrote checks from the
victim’s account and withdrew cash from the ATM for her as needed. There was a
second signer on the account as well, who died in September 2018.

In October 2020, the
victim received a PayPal credit card bill in the mail in her name that she
didn’t know about. She alerted other family members (without Ramos’ knowledge),
who then discovered that the elderly victim’s bank account had been emptied,
and had a negative balance. The victim’s family reported the suspicious
activity to PCSO, who began an in-depth investigation. Her concerned family
members deposited their own money into her account to keep her from having to
file for bankruptcy. The victim’s only income was Social Security.

During the
investigation, detectives learned that the 83-year-old victim sold her home in
early 2018, resulting in $80,000 being deposited into her account. According to
a financial review, detectives discovered the account had a second signer, a
woman who died in September 2018. Checks and withdrawals made prior to the second
signer’s death were generally very consistent. There were occasional $200.00
cashed checks (the victim did not have any active credit or debit cards and she
generally used cash), and monthly payments for the victim’s bills (mentioned
above) consistent for approximately one year.

After the sale of her
house, the victim maintained a balance of about $71,000.00, and she stayed
within a couple of thousand dollars of this through October of 2018.

In November of 2018,
after the death of the second signer to the account, a series of payments to
PayPal, restaurants, Epcot, stores, and many other locations were identified.
Prior to this date, there were direct payments to 3-6 different services per
month. In November, this increased to nearly 50 transactions per month.

Between November 2018
and November 2019, the victim’s account reduced from $66,836 to a negative
balance of -$193.00.

The victim passed away
in February 2021.

“This suspect is the
lowest of the low – betraying the trust of her own grandmother, taking
advantage of her during a great time of need by completely wiping out her life
savings. She’s despicable. And she’s a teacher on top of it – someone who is
entrusted with shaping and molding young, impressionable students. What an
awful role model she is.”
Judd, Sheriff

Detectives submitted
subpoenas and gathered documentation of payments to the following entities:

·        Bank of America

·        PayPal credit

·        Capital One credit

·        Hot Topic

·        Planet Fitness

·        Badcock

·        Epcot

·        Nissan

·        Publix ATM cash withdrawals

Over time, Ramos
depleted her grandmother’s bank account, and opened three different credit
cards in her grandmother’s name, maxing all of them out. She withdrew over
$18,000 cash from ATMs; paid credit card bills which she used at restaurants
and bars; paid her car payments; made Amazon purchases; and paid for
entertainment inside and outside Polk County.
Ramos has been employed by Polk County Public
Schools since 2008. She’s currently a 6th and 7th grade U.S. History teacher at Dundee Ridge
Middle Academy. Please direct any inquiries about her employment to Polk County
Public Schools.

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