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A South Florida doctor is being accused of extorting her 86-year-old patient after police say she got the man to sign over co-ownership of his home without his knowledge.
Lazaro Riesgo said Odalys Pilar Frontela was his primary care doctor for years and the person he trusted the most after the deaths of his wife and two children.
He was taken by surprise a few months ago when Frontela told him she was the co-owner of his east Hialeah home, which he owned for 40 years. Riesgo said she started asking for half of the rent.
According to a police report, Frontela took advantage of the man’s old age to get him to sign over co-ownership of his home to her. Police also said Frontela turned the home into an assisted living facility without a proper license.
On Friday, seven elderly people who were staying there were taken to nearby hospitals, Riesgo said. That night, Frontela was arrested outside of her workplace, Larkin Community Hospital of Hialeah.
Frontela and her lawyer told NBC 6 on Thursday that the doctor is innocent and that she did not run Riesgo’s home as an assisted living facility.
“The declaration is completely 100% false,” Frontela said.
Frontela’s attorney Eric Clayman said his client made arrangements with Riesgo to help maintain and repair the home to house Riesgo’s son, who had been ill before he died. Clayman claims Frontella and Riesgo had an agreement to house others in the community who needed a place to stay while they were terminal.
“My client committed zero wrong. If anything she should be thanked,” he said.
Frontela is set to go before a judge next month.