Palm Bay Woman Charged With Stealing from 89-year-old with Terminal Cancer

A woman was arrested after stealing money from a terminal cancer patient in Palm Bay, Florida.
A woman was arrested after stealing money from a terminal cancer patient in Palm Bay, Florida.

PALM BAY – Michelle Lee Nichols, 34, was supposed to be taking care of a 98-year-old, deaf, partially blind man with terminal cancer, who requires weekly dialysis. Instead, she was allegedly helping herself to his money.

In October of 2018, the Palm Bay Police Department was contacted by the 89-year-old victim through a third-party relay service about a theft.

The victim needed assistance in taking care of himself, so he agreed to pay defendant Michelle Lee Nichols, who is a friend’s granddaughter, to assist him with household chores and other personal errands. The victim advised that he’s known Nichols since she was a child.

Per the victim, part of the agreement was that the defendant would visit the home, feed the cats and assist him with other in-home necessities including grocery shopping and other errands. He would pay her cash but would use his debit card when they would go to the store together.

Nichols knew where the victim kept his cash and debit card inside the home and was never given permission to access either of them. Soon after hiring the defendant, he noticed there was cash missing from his residence and bank account.

He confronted the defendant who initially denied the allegations, however when she was supposed to take him to the bank to inquire about the charges she did not show up.

Nichols left the victim a handwritten note apologizing to him. The note stated that she “knows what happened to the money… used it for food, groceries, and gas” that she was going to “put it back before [he] noticed… will also do all work for free until everything is paid”, according to the affidavit.

The suspicious purchases in question were made at 13 different merchant locations. Orders and receipts for 27 purchases have been recovered from 7 different locations.

These locations and the corresponding number of receipts recovered are: Applebee’s (1), Domino’s Pizza (6), Hong Kong Resturant (4), Marco’s Pizza (1), Papa John’s (2), Walmart Grocery (12) and (1). The total value of receipts obtained for goods at this time is $1905.66.

Michelle Lee Nichols, of Palm Bay, was arrested and charged with Larceny-Other Larceny >$300 <10K Person >65 YOA, Scheme to Defraud >$300-False Pretenses, 28 Counts of Use/Possession ID of Another Person Without Consent, Larceny Credit Card-Other Larceny, Exploitation Elderly or Disabled Adult >$50K, and Use ID Pers <18Y or >60Y WO Consent.

Her total bond is $113,000.

DISCLAIMER: Arrests and mugshots were made public by complaint affidavits, arrest affidavits, and police reports. All persons arrested are innocent until proven guilty.

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Scott Lee travels between Brevard County and Indian River County and has been writing for various publications for approximately 30 years. Lee also writes for Sebastian Daily covering Vero Beach and Florida news. Currently, he covers Palm Bay, West Melbourne, and the Melbourne area.
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