DELAND, Fla. — Donations are pouring in from across the nation for an 82-year-old U.S. Coast Guard veteran who contemplated suicide after two people drained his bank account to support their $500-a-day drug habit, according to DeLand Police.
- Unidentified DeLand veteran is in "good spirits," DeLand spokesman says
- Donors can contribute by clicking here (Spectrum News is not affiliated)
- Florida American Legion, Tennessee-based Code of Vets, others donating
The veteran, who has requested anonymity, is getting support from as far away as Alaska and Canada, DeLand spokesman Chris Graham said in a statement Tuesday afternoon.
“Close to $3,000 has been raised in less than 12 hours, and I have received messages from at least two people pledging $5,000 each to the veteran,” Graham added.
The victim lost $50,000, possibly more, police said.
Jessica Henry, 31, and Gregory Dushan, 28, were arrested by DeLand Police and charged with exploitation of an elderly person between the amounts of $20,000 and $100,000.
Dushan was additionally charged with impersonating a correction/probation officer.
An investigation into death threats made to the victim is underway. Someone told the veteran he would be killed if he didn’t drop the charges on Henry, police said.
DeLand Police launched an investigation May 8 after getting a tip from the Veterans Crisis Center about the victim contemplating suicide because his bank account was drained.
Police said the victim met Henry about three years ago. He gave her money to feed her kids and helped take them to school, police said.
Henry contacted the victim six months ago, saying she had been arrested and needed money to pay for a urine test in front of her probation officer.
“A male, later identified as Dushan, then got on the phone and demanded money for probation costs,” a report last week said.
Dushan called him daily, demanding $150 to $1,000, and threatened to jail the victim and take his vehicle, according to investigators.
“Eventually, the victim gave Henry his vehicle so it would not get seized again. It has since been recovered,’’ the report added.