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Lawyer accused of ripping off wards

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office booking photo of Cynthia Nichols

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville lawyer was arrested last week on accusations of ripping off wards.

According to a police report, 55-year-old Cynthia Nichols' practice is mainly focused on guardianships.

One ward prosecutors say she stole tens of thousands of dollars from is Mary Vest, who died last year at age 88. She was in an assisted living facility.

According to the police report, Nichols spent the following from Vest's account:

  • $11,000 for a car in May 2010
  • $20,000 for a car in March 2011 for a friend of Nichols
  • $5,400 for a bathtub in May 2011 for that same friend's home
  • $6,600 in ATM withdrawals from August to September 2010

The report goes on to list other ATM transactions from the accounts of some of Nichols' other wards, saying "it is apparent that the suspect has established a pattern of manipulating the banking accounts of her numerous wards for her own purposes."