Police search for pair accused of scamming Alzheimer's patient out of $50K

Dustin Kenneth Gant (Source: Baton Rouge Police Department)
Dustin Kenneth Gant (Source: Baton Rouge Police Department)
Faye Cooper Smith
Faye Cooper Smith

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Police are trying to find a man and woman suspected of scamming an Alzheimer's patient out of more than $50,000.

The Baton Rouge Police Department said Dustin Gant, 31, and Faye Smith, 29, are wanted on charges of felony theft, forgery and monetary instrument abuse.

Police said they do not have current addresses on either suspect, but believe they are living in a travel trailer.

According to investigators, Gant and Smith worked odd jobs around the victim's home for four months.  Things like fixing fences and flowerbeds.  Police say family members noticed things, like the man's checkbooks, were disappearing.

"They were taking checks, going into businesses cashing them.  Purchasing items," said Cpl. L'Jean McKneely, with the police department.

Detectives added they believe there are other victims in the Baton Rouge area.

Staff at Alzheimer's Services, in Baton Rouge, say those with the disease are targeted all to often.

"We get a lot of caregivers that call us with stories where a parent or spouse has been taken advantage of," said Kristi Mellion, Program Coordinator at Alzheimer's Services.

She says patients often times don't remember giving out their information, but by the time it is caught thousands of dollars are missing.

Many times she says scams take place over the phone.  Once that person realizes they've reached a vulnerable person, they keep coming back.  And the patient has no memory of the incident.

"It's a lot more prevalent now," she said.

Alzheimer's Services offers classes on protecting people with the disease.  They say as it progresses, it is more important to learn how to protect the person who suffers from Alzheimer's or Dementia.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Gant and/or Smith or believe they've been scammed should call Crime Stoppers at 344-7867.

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