Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Former state prosecutor arrested in $100K fraud case with 85-year-old victim

  • Manatee-Sarasota
  • Share

A Sarasota bankruptcy attorney and former state prosecutor has been arrested by the Sarasota Police Department on charges of fraudulently accessing the bank accounts of an Alzheimer’s patient to pay rent and other bills totaling $112,804.

Sherry Lee Ellis, 65, was arrested Dec. 13 following an investigation that began May 17, when the victim’s son reported he suspected his father’s girlfriend was stealing from him, according to an affidavit obtained by the Sarasota Observer, sister paper of the Business Observer

He said that while reviewing his father’s bank statements, he noticed large amounts of money missing. 

The 85-year-old victim and Ellis had been involved in a romantic relationship for several years.

Detectives interviewed the victim, who stated he believes Ellis took his debit card and a book of checks without his permission. He says Ellis was struggling financially and he assisted her with paying her rent for four months, in addition to some medical bills. 

He stated Ellis did not have permission to take his checkbook or his debit card for other purposes, which included 23 additional rent payments and credit card payments. 

According to the affidavit, Ellis made online rent payments from the victim’s account from May 2021 through March 2023, totaling $70,915. 

Bank records also show she made four payments to Discover Card from January through April 2023 totaling $9,343; a payment to Wayfair for $2,520; plus 17 more checks totaling more than $30,000.

Ellis was arrested on two counts of fraud that each carried a bond of $20,000. She is scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 26, 2024. 

Ellis, according to her website and LinkedIn profile, started her career in the mental health field. She ran an adolescent chemical dependency unit at the Sarasota Palms Psychiatric Hospital from 1984 to 1987 prior to law school. She was with the State Attorney's office in Sarasota from 1998 to 2003, she states on LinkedIn, woking in the felony, juvenile, domestic violence and misdemeanor divisions. She opened her own law practice, with an office on Main Street in downtown Sarasota, in 2003. 

This article originally appeared on sister site


Latest News


Special Offer: Only $1 Per Week For 1 Year!

Your free article limit has been reached this month.
Subscribe now for unlimited digital access to our award-winning business news.
Join thousands of executives who rely on us for insights spanning Tampa Bay to Naples.