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State investigators said it continued even after his father died.
Ryan Powers had power of attorney when he sold his parents' home and pocketed the money, according to investigators.
They also said he was using up their social security income but never paid his father's funeral costs.
John Provencar knew the couple well.
"We went to go see Rusty at the hospital a few times... but I feel really bad for Janet because she's the one left with all the problems," Provencar said.
He lived next door to the Powers in Alva, and can't believe their 40-year-old son would steal from his ailing parents.
"People should earn their own way and not take it away from somebody else that's in need."
The attorney general's office and Lee County deputies said that's exactly what happened. After Powers gained power of attorney last year, he opened up a fraudulent bank account and deposited his parents' social security checks. He then used debit cards to spend more than $6,000.
"It's sad, but it happens a lot down here. More than a lot of people know," said Debbie Phillips, a professional guardian who works with seniors.
"They're an easy target," she said.
Powers' parents told him to sell their mobile home and use the money to remodel a home in Lehigh, a home they bought him, hoping they could move in.
Instead, they ended up in a nursing home, and Powers pocketed $72,000.
"I never thought he would be doing something like that to his parents," Provencar said.
Powers' father died in July. Investigators said Powers didn't even pay the funeral costs, letting the body cremated with taxpayer money.
"It flies under the radar because people think that it's a family matter and nobody wants to get involved."
Deputies were tipped off after Powers didn't pay for his parents' nursing home care.
He's accused of stealing more than $82,000 and was arrested after a 10-month investigation. He faces two counts of exploitation of an elderly person.
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Lee County man accused of stealing from elderly parents