OKLAHOMA COUNTY, Okla. -- A 78-year-old metro man is accused of ripping off an elderly friend.
On Tuesday, Oklahoma County prosecutors charged Doyle Higginbottom with five counts of financial exploitation of the elderly.
The alleged victim is 93-years-old.
"I've been helping her for 20 years," said Higginbottom.
Higginbottom admitted he took money from the victim, but says he used it to pay for repairs to her white Mercury.
"She's been giving me money to fix her car," said Higginbottom. "I haven't done anything wrong."
Yet when investigators checked out the victim's accounts at Interbank and Chase bank, court records claim they allegedly found dozens of checks totaling more than $18,000 written from the victim to the suspect.
Once confronted with those numbers, even the victim who suffers from advanced dementia "began to understand something didn't make sense."
"I thought I was doing a good deed and come to find out I'm gonna go to prison for it," said Higginbottom.
"It's a wide spread problem," said elderly advocate Wes Bledsoe.
Bledsoe says claims of financial exploitation can always be avoided if caregivers would simply draw up the proper legal paperwork, documenting their financial responsibilities.
"If they'd had a budget and accounted for every dollar, this would not be a problem for this individual," said Bledsoe.
"I may as well kill myself. I'm going to go to prison," said Higginbottom.
While clearly in disbelief over the five felony charges, Higginbottom maintains he has not profited from the victims money.
"You think I'm living good? No. I'm barely making it on the money I have from Social Security and that's it," said Higginbottom.
Because the charges were just filed, the suspect has not been arrested, but he will have to surrender himself to jail soon.