Florida city commissioner accused of spending 96-year-old's money on facelift, hotels

Updated

A Florida city commissioner is being investigated in connection with the theft of $100,000 from a 96-year-old woman to pay for a facelift, dental surgery and hotel rooms, among other expenses, according to police and court documents.

Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill is accused of financially exploiting the 96-year-old woman since March 15, 2021, according to an affidavit from an agent for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

The special agent's investigation suggests Hill had no prior relationship with the elderly woman before meeting her in March 2021 and obtaining power of attorney over her a little over a month later, according to the court records obtained by USA TODAY on Wednesday.

In an email to USA TODAY on Wednesday, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement confirmed that an active investigation is ongoing against Hill, but the agency could not provide additional information. It remains unclear if Hill is facing any criminal charges.

USA TODAY contacted Hill's office on Wednesday but did not receive an immediate response.

Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill
Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill

Hill's former aide's allegations prompt investigation, affidavit says

Allegations against Hill arose when the agent interviewed the commissioner's former aide, court documents show.

Hill's former aide told the agent about a home Hill bought on Aug. 19, 2022, in Orlando. An investigation into the purchase determined the power of attorney form used to buy the home was fraudulent because the aide's name was on documents she didn't sign and dates didn't match up, according to court records.

The 96-year-old woman's name also was listed as a "co-purchaser" of the home.

After speaking to the 96-year-old woman, the agent learned that she never permitted Hill to use her personal information to buy the home, court documents show. As of March 7, the day the affidavit was filed, the home was abandoned and without electricity or running water, the documents continued.

Financial documents show that Hill used funds from the senior woman's bank accounts to pay for "expensive bottles of perfume," clothing, "numerous intravenous infusions of vitamins," a facelift, a New Year's Eve hotel stay in Miami, dental surgery and car insurance payments for her vehicles, according to court records. Her expenses exceeded $100,000, the records show.

A separate home in Orlando was passed down to the 96-year-old woman after her mother died in 1988, according to the affidavit. Financial records showed that Hill paid for "extensive renovations" on the home, where she currently lives, court documents show.

The woman told the special agent she would have never agreed to allow Hill to use money from her bank accounts or be a power of attorney over her, according to the affidavit. The woman did tell the agent she "recalled signing some sort of document but did not understand it," court records show.

Florida judge grants temporary protective injunction against Hill, reports say

A Florida judge granted a temporary protective injunction for the exploitation of a vulnerable adult last week, the Orlando Sentinel reported. In the order, the judge wrote that the injunction against the commissioner was needed to physically and financially protect the older woman because there was "an immediate and present danger of exploitation" and a "likelihood of irreparable harm," the outlet said.

The judge also said the financial records referenced in the affidavit showed “the dramatic decrease in the vulnerable adult’s assets as well as the accumulation of debt in her name ostensibly at Ms. Hill’s hand," according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Before meeting Hill, the woman had over $160,000 in her bank account with a credit card balance of $650, the affidavit showed. By October 2023, the woman had less than $60,000 left in her bank account and more than $10,000 in credit card debt, according to court records.

A general overall view of the downtown Orlando skyline pictured on Jan. 28, 2018.
A general overall view of the downtown Orlando skyline pictured on Jan. 28, 2018.

How Hill, and the elderly woman met in 2021

When an outside attorney hired by the city of Orlando interviewed Hill about her relationship with the older woman, Hill said she met her when city code personnel connected them, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

Hill told the attorney she helped the woman get improved living conditions, medical care and ultimately a live-in caretaker, the Florida-based outlet said. During the interview, the commissioner acknowledged she recently bought a home and the woman co-signed the loan for it, according to the outlet.

Jonathan Limehouse covers breaking and trending news for USA TODAY. Reach him at JLimehouse@gannett.com

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Orlando commissioner accused of spending 96-year-old's money on facelift

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