Melbourne Man Accused of Exploiting Elderly Woman in Wheelchair

A man uses an elderly woman's credit card without authorization to buy clothing and shoes at the mall in Melbourne, Florida.
A man uses an elderly woman's credit card without authorization to buy clothing and shoes at the mall in Melbourne, Florida.

MELBOURNE, Florida – An 88-year-old woman told deputies that a handyman who was supposed to build her a wheelchair ramp spent the money on clothing and shoes at the Melbourne Square Mall, according to the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office.

On Friday, deputies arrested 42-year-old Jason Edward Tebedo on charges of Exploitation of Elderly or Disabled Adult, Fraud Use of a Credit Card, and Grand Theft Larceny.

The victim told deputies that Tebedo promised to do work for her and build her a much-needed wheelchair ramp, but he wanted money up front for the materials. Since he was a friend of the family, the victim gave Tebedo her debit card to buy the wood and other supplies.

A few hours later, the bank called the victim to report suspicious activity on her account of more than $600 at various stores at the Melbourne Square Mall. She repeatedly tried to reach Tebedo about the charges, but he wouldn’t answer his phone, reports show.

Later in the day, Tebedo finally answered his phone and told the victim that “whatever the charges are, he would pay her back Friday when he got paid from work,” according to the affidavit.

Several days went by, and Tebedo finally showed up to work on the wheelchair ramp. But before the work was started, the victim told Tebedo that she was having trouble getting into her laptop computer because she forgot the password.

Tebedo told the victim he could buy a part for the laptop, and then she could gain access to it. However, he would need money from the victim to buy it. However, the victim’s bank account was overdrawn due to the past charges made by Tebedo. So, he asked the victim if she had any credit cards. She pulled out five of them, and Tebedo grabbed two and walked out the door to buy the computer part.

Later in the day, the two credit card companies called the victim to say there was suspicious account activity.

“The cards were used at Foot Locker, Rack Room Shoes, and Jimmy Jazz, which are all located in the Melbourne Square Mall,” according to the report.

The victim then called Tebedo about the charges, and he said: “he would contact his father to get the money” paid back to her on Friday.

“Friday came, and he did not pay her back like promised,” according to the affidavit.

The victim contacted her daughter and told her what was going on. When the daughter called Tebedo to get the money from him, he ultimately told her, “do what you have to do,” as she was going to call the police.

Deputies went to all the stores and obtained video surveillance footage of Tebedo using the victim’s debit card and credit cards. The victim did not authorize Tebedo to many any of the charges for clothing and shoes, only the materials for the wheelchair ramp.

A detective reached Tebedo to interview him about the unauthorized charges, and he agreed to meet with him to “clear things up,” the affidavit said.

“Over approximately a four week period, I made contact with Jason over the phone to schedule a time to meet. He would agree over the phone, but when the time came, he was never there, and would not answer the phone. He has since made several excuses about damaged phones, and things have come up,” the detective said.

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A warrant for Tebedo’s arrest was issued, and he was picked up the same day and transported to the Brevard County Jail.

Tebedo is still being held on a $15,000 bond.

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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