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Beloved aunt taken advantage by caretaker, family waiting for restitution

ST. FRANCISVILLE - A woman says her beloved family member was taken advantage of by her caretaker and she's waiting for justice to be served.

Elizabeth Davis says $34,000 was taken from her aunt Jean Burnett's bank accounts over the course of a year.

"I mean, it's the epitome of elder abuse," said Davis.

Davis says her aunt was very independent and lived by herself in the St. Francisville home she built nearly 30 years ago. Shortly before Burnett died, she hired a caretaker to stop by twice a day and check on things.

"Her name was Barbara Franklin," said Davis.

One day, Burnett became ill and had to be checked into a hospital. She stayed there for four months in a hospital bed. During those four months, Davis was keeping up with her bills and noticed her bank account remained active.

"We got a statement from the bank that the card was still being used," said Davis. "In two weeks time, Barbara managed to go through $536 while my aunt's in the hospital."

Documents show dozens of charges at one local bank.

"Here $119 worth of merchandise from the Dollar General, the same day she got $80 worth of merchandise from Fred's," she said.

Almost every charge included cash back, and the spending didn't stop there. Davis says signatures were forged and a debit card was taken out in Burnett's name at a credit union where an account of Burnett's was emptied.

"She pretty much wiped her clean, she wiped out her savings account completely," said Davis.

The most, about $24,000 came out of her LASERS state retirement savings. Multiple withdrawals, including one for $7,000. Davis said it was a lot of money for a woman who lived well below her means.

In June 2017, Barbara Franklin was arrested in West Feliciana Parish for exploitation of the infirmed and unauthorized use of an access card.

Davis says her aunt Burnett died in January 2018.

Franklin is currently under probation after entering a plea of no contest to the charge of exploitation of persons with infirmities. There is a restitution hearing July 12, 2018, with the understanding that the max amount of restitution is $10,000.

Davis fears Franklin won't ever pay any of her aunt's money back.

"This was not justified, this was not right, this was flat-out theft," she said. "Why isn't anybody doing anything?"

Months have ticked by and Davis is shocked that justice has yet to be served but says she'll continue to fight for her aunt's restitution.

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