ST. LANDRY PARISH, LA (WAFB) - An Arnaudville man was arrested last week after being accused of stealing more than $36,000 from his 86-year-old grandmother.
Martin Thibodeaux had apparently been stealing from his grandmothers' bank account for about six months, according to St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office officials. He had been listed as an authorized user of the Chase Bank account for the purpose of caring for the 86 year old woman.
"His crime spree included 12 ATM withdrawals, cashed checks and in-person direct cash withdrawals," said officials in a news release. "Further, he visited the bank in person 22 times to open her safety deposit box, which, according to the investigation, had been filled with hard saved cash. Martin Thibodeaux accessed his grandmothers account a total of 34 times over the course of 6 months, from July 2014 through Jan 2015. By the time her extended family brought the 86 year old in person to her bank, $36,230.09 was unaccounted for, and her safety deposit box was empty. The exact amount of the cash that had been held inside the box is unknown."
The investigation led deputies to the Evangeline Downs Casino, where video was observed of Martin Thibodeaux gambling.
"Casino records showed that he gambled large amounts of cash… $19,457.00… $5,870.00… $45,128.00… $13,930.00… the amounts of cash gambled away was staggering," said St. Landry Parish officials.
Reports show Thibodeaux blamed his grandmother, the V.A., and his deceased grandfather when asked to explain his actions. He could not offer an explanation for the missing cash, the empty safety deposit box, or the source of his gambling money and massive losses at the casino.
Thibodeaux was arrested on Jan. 16, 2015, booked on the charge of financial exploitation of the elderly, a crime that carries a penalty of up to 10 years at hard labor. He was released on bond of $10,000 dollars and is currently awaiting trial.
"Martin Thibodeaux betrayed the trust that was extended to him by his own grandmother," stated Sheriff Bobby J. Guidroz. "Her life's savings are gone, apparently gambled away. His actions do not reflect the character of the citizens of St. Landry Parish, who care for the elderly with great love and Christian compassion. He will have his day in court, but it is our hope that he is held accountable for his crime and is sentenced to the fullest extent of the law if convicted."