Jailhouse call from suspect accused of exploiting the elderly leads judge to delay granting bond

Fernando Gutierrez instructed family to move money

CLEARWATER, Fla. - Professional guardian Fernando Gutierrez was charged last month with financially exploiting seniors through power of attorney or health care surrogate agreements.

He couldn't use the money from his business bank accounts to pay bond, because prosecutors thought that money may have come from victims.

The call for help Guitierrez made from jail made the judge suspicious as well.

Prosecutors allege professional guardian Fernando Gutierrez stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from vulnerable seniors he was supposed to protect.

“He used that money for various things like paying his kids' tuition, paying his mortgage,” said State’s Attorney Adam Ross.

And because Gutierrez still had joint bank accounts with multiple clients, the judge ordered him not to use any money from business accounts for his $750,000 bond.

“You have to be able to show that the assets that would be used to bail yourself out are not ill-gotten gain,” said Judge Nancy Moate Ley during his first court appearance.

That same day, Gutierrez made a phone call from jail to his family. 

“This call is from a corrections facility and is subject to monitoring and recording,” the recording of the jail call said.  

“They want to see where the money's coming from,” Gutierrez told a family member during call.

He also instructed his daughter how to access his Wells Fargo Bank accounts through a computer.

“Ok, we're in,” she said, after putting in his account name and password.

“Ok, you'll see all those accounts,” Gutierrez said. “Try to limit your conversation as much as you can.”

“Ok. Yeah,” she replied.

He then walked her through how to move money for his bond into her own account.

“Maybe you should go to the bank and get cash and deposit it into your account,” he said.

“Which check you want me to use?” she asked.

“You know the one, not the business check, the other one. The other one. The other one,” he said. “And speak limited words.”

He also gives instructions to his wife.

“Just deposit it in the joint account, your account, ok? “ he said.

And to a niece to whom he sent money.

“Just hold onto it until I get to the hearing for my bond and I'll tell you how much to take out,” he told her.

“Yes. tell us how much you need and we'll deposit it to whoever's account or whatever,” she said.

“No, no, no, no, no. It'd have to come from your account,” he told her.

“Just hold it. Just hold everything for now,” he said.  

At his bond hearing, those same family members pledged money toward his bond, but the judge wouldn't accept the funds as coming independently from his accounts, sending Gutierrez back to jail for a week until another family member pledged property.

When he was released, it was with new conditions.

 He removes himself from all non-family joint accounts,” said Judge Nancy Moate Ley.

“If you bond out of jail and don't have the where with all to do this, we could put you back in jail,” she said.

Gutierrez has until august 14th to get his name off all his clients’ bank accounts.

At the time of his arrest, he was the guardian, power of attorney or health care surrogate for more than fifty people.

If you have a story you’d like the I-Team to investigate, contact us at adam@abcactionnews.com.

 

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