St. Augustine medium charged with exploiting elderly woman

Investigators say 30-year-old used over $180K of victim’s money for personal use, to start business

A St. Augustine medium is accused of stealing thousands of dollars from an elderly person she was taking care of, according to the sheriff's office.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – A St. Augustine woman who is listed online as an international spiritual medium has been charged with exploiting an elderly person after investigators said she used over $180,000 of the victim's money to start a business and for other personal use.

Jackie Ronco, 30, is listed as a co-owner of the Purple Lotus on San Marco Avenue in St. Augustine, which was recently evicted for not paying rent.

Ronco is also facing eviction from her home and has been sued by two credit card companies for failure to pay $3,600 in bills.

Ronco's relationship to the victim has been redacted from the arrest report, but the report indicates that she was the victim's power of attorney and a signer on the victim's bank account. The victim's age has also been redacted but the report said she has suffered from dementia for many years.

According to the report, Ronco put the victim in an assisted living facility and withdrew large sums of money from the victim's investment accounts to pay for care. The report shows Ronco used the victim's money for daily expenses, her children's day care and to start a business.

Deputies said Ronco failed to pay the health care facility, and then moved the victim to another facility where she also failed to make payments and didn't visit the victim. The facilities are owed more than $30,000, and Ronco also failed to pay the victim's health insurance premiums, causing her insurance to lapse, the report said.

News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson said investigators will be looking for a money trail.

“They’re going to do a thorough investigation and trace every step,” Jefferson said. "The state takes exploitation of the elderly very seriously.”

The report shows Ronco used $184,768.30 for personal use, leaving the victim with just over $3,000 in her account.

Ronco told deputies she planned to use the business to pay for the victim’s care, but the business failed.