Senior facility director accused of stealing cash from elderly woman in Stuart

Victim's son hides in closet, catches suspect
Posted at 4:23 PM, Apr 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-19 05:29:38-04

A woman is accused of stealing hundreds of dollars from an elderly woman at an assisted living facility in Stuart.

William Ferris contacted the Martin County Sheriff's Office concerning money being stolen from his mother's apartment.

Ferris told MCSO that he started noticing his 82-year-old mother was going through money faster than normal.

Ferris' mother has resided at The Pointe at Ocean Boulevard on SE Ocean Boulevard in Stuart for the last two years.

The Pointe at Ocean Boulevard is an assisted independent living facility where the residents have their own apartments and do not require 24-hour care.

Ferris provided detectives with a list of dates and the amounts taken and claims the following: 

  • $400 was taken on Monday, April 3. 
  • $280 was taken on Friday, April 7.
  • $300 was taken on Monday, April 10.
  • $240 was taken on Wednesday, April 12.

Ferris told detectives that his mother leaves her apartment around 3 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays to go to the community area. Ferris said it was suspicious that the money was missing on the exact days and times that she was leaving the apartment.

"We set up a plan to go in the next time and put it on video and actually watch it," said Sgt. John Bowdoin with the Martin County Sheriff's Office.

On April 14, Ferris set up video cameras in his mother's apartment and at approximately 3:56 p.m., the motion camera was activated and a woman can be seen taking money from his mother's purse.

Ferris told detectives that there was $320 in the wallet that day. He had also recorded himself and his mother placing the money into the wallet and putting it away in the drawer. Ferris also photocopied the money that he had placed in the wallet.

On April 17, Ferris provided $300 in $20 bills to the sheriff's office, where they were photocopied. Ferris then took the cash to his mother's apartment and set up video cameras again. This time, Ferris hid in the closet and waited on the suspect to enter and steal the cash.

When she did, Ferris exited the closet and confronted the suspect, who the Martin County Sheriff's Office identifies as Serafina Frahm, the Director of The Point at Ocean Boulevard.

"She was remorseful. She was crying, but she was really more apologetic, 'Please, I don't want to lose my job, please don't take me to jail,'" said Bowdoin.

MCSO says Frahm confessed to using her master key to enter the apartment and take the money. She claimed she was taking the money to help out another resident.

According to deputies, Frahm said she only took money from the apartment on two occasions. When detectives told Frahm they have video of her taking money on additional dates, she denied taking money on those dates and advised that she wished to speak with a lawyer.

Frahm was arrested Monday for two counts of burglary and two counts of grand theft and was booked into the Martin County Jail. She has since bonded out of jail.

Bowdoin said other families have contacted the sheriff's office about other potential thefts at the facility.

An interim director at the living facility told WPTV he could not comment on Frahm's employment status, but said she is not at the facility. He said she has been working at The Pointe for six months. Other people living at the facility said they were shocked to learn about her arrest.

"It's somebody that you trust, that worked here," said Joan Corallo who has been living at the facility for six months. "She's here for the place, and she's doing something like that? It's a shame."