28 May 2005

Who said the organ store at the mall was dead?

Music Store Manager Arrested for Selling Alzheimer's Victim 11 Organs

PORT RICHEY, Fla. (AP) - An Alzheimer's disease victim bought 11 organs in 18 months from a music store manager who convinced the 79-year-old woman she would play better if she had a more expensive instrument, authorities said.

Scott Lewis Heyder, 36, was charged Thursday with felony exploitation of the elderly and held on $10,000 bail at the Pasco County Jail. Pasco County Sheriff's detectives said Heyder sold the woman expensive organs even after her family pleaded with him to stop.
The woman spent about $25,000 on organs and ended up with one worth only about half that, said sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll. She has not received any money back from the music store, he said.

"I think it's unconscionable, especially after the family confronted this sales person and said our mother has mental failings due to Alzheimer's, she doesn't know what she's doing," Doll said.

The Spring Hill woman began buying and trading organs at the Fletcher Music Center at Gulfview Square Mall in 2003 after taking lessons there. Detectives requested that she not be publicly identified, fearing she might become the victim of another financial scam.

Heyder encouraged her to buy an organ for about $1,650, detectives said, and within days he urged her to trade up for an organ costing nearly double. Weeks later, the woman had traded up organs twice more to one costing nearly $5,000 and her family confronted Heyder.

But less than a year later, Heyder sold the woman more organs, the sheriff's office said, including four on a single day in August.

When she was questioned, the woman told detectives she only remembered buying three or four organs over the years instead of the 11 transactions investigators documented.

A telephone message seeking comment was left at Heyder's home and not returned Thursday. Officials at Fletcher's Music also did not immediately return calls for comment.

Meanwhile, a 79-year-old Jacksonville woman suffering from memory loss paid more than $90,000 to a landscaper for yard work, authorities said Thursday.

David Brian Phillips, 26, of Jacksonville, was charged Wednesday with felony exploitation of the elderly, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's office. He was released from the Duval County jail on $50,000 bail.

The woman hired Phillips in 2002 to cut the lawn and trim hedges, along with other maintenance duties, on her Jacksonville property, police said.

Phillips was to be paid about $80 a month, but police said he charged the woman every few weeks for work he had not done.

"I just paid him," the woman told police. "At that time, I didn't have anyone else to do my work."
Phillips could not be reached for comment late Thursday by The Associated Press.


Anonymous said...

you have the best organ stories

Keaster Blasterhollen said...

You think that's bad? My Grandma bought 16 totaled Buick's from a Mexican acrobat durning the Spanish American War!

Try that one on for size.