LANTANA, Fla. - A local elderly husband and wife are fighting to reclaim their life savings. They accuse a South Florida health care consulting firm of taking all of their money.
At 82, Frances Berkowitz thought life would be easier. Instead, her husband Jerry is in hospice, and she has no record of how their life savings is being spent.
"I trusted someone and I thought she felt sorry for me," said Berkowitz.
Berkowitz is referring to Princella Lewis and her senior care consulting firm, Prestigious Lifecare for Seniors. Berkowitz signed one million dollars over to Lewis last year, and until Monday, says none of it was accounted for.
A judge asked Lewis to pay back $750,000 in court. Berkowitz says Lewis threatened her when she'd asked about the money over the last several months.
"The defendant told my client 'if you don't do this, your dying husband won't receive health care.' That's a chilling way to take someone's money," says Webb Millsaps, Berkowitz's attorney.
"No one is threatening anybody, not Ms. Lewis or her firm. There's been no threat, we're trying to protect her money," said Ruby Seymour-Barr, representing Princella Lewis.
Seymour-Barr defended Lewis calling the threats hearsay. She contends all the money was properly spent to care for Jerry Berkowitz in hospice. Although Seymour-Barr has not presented any evidence, Barr says the proof will be given in court.
Berkowitz says she just wants what she and her husband worked their whole lives for.
"I feel so bad that someone should take advantage of people like us," said Berkowitz.
Millsaps is still fighting to find out what happened to the outstanding money, which is more than $250,000.
Seymour-Barr claims the money was spent to care for the couple.