Blind former MLB pitcher claims caretaker stole nearly $20K from him

William Denehy pitched three seasons in the major leagues, playing for the New York Mets and Detroit Tigers.
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William Denehy pitched three seasons in the major leagues, playing for the New York Mets and Detroit Tigers.

A blind Florida man said he was taken advantage of by a woman hired to care for him and that she allegedly stole nearly $20,000 from him.

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That 70-year-old woman is now facing three felony charges.

The victim, William Denehy, is a former major league baseball pitcher now living in Central Florida.

Denehy, 72, of Orlando, said his caregiver used his trust to steal from him for months.

Since he's blind, Denehy said he relied on her around three times a week and he trusted her with his financial information.

Later, he claims he found out he was not only paying her salary, but he was also footing the bill for everything from her cigarettes to doctor's bills.

William Denehy is full of baseball stories. He is noted among vintage baseball collectors for his Topps baseball rookie card, where he is featured with future Hall of Famer Tom Seaver.

“Well, I signed with the New York Mets in 1964," Denehy said. "I struck out the first batter I ever faced in the big leagues, Johnny Briggs.”

That first strikeout came on April 16, 1967, at Philadelphia’s Connie Mack Stadium. Denehy struck out eight batters that day in a losing effort.

But he recently got a fastball hurled at him.

“Extremely frustrated and really violated," Denehy said.

He said it's at the hands of Donna Sue Santella.

Santella was hired from care.com to help Denehy with everything from getting to his doctor appointments to paying his bills.

Denehy can no longer see.

“Being blind, you really put all your trust in a person," Denehy said.

He believes Santella used that trust to rip him off.

An arrest affidavit details purchases made by Santella with Denehy's credit card and even withdrawals from ATMs.

Santella is accused of stealing $17,000.

“She was going to a wig store. She was going to a nail salon. She was going to Walgreens, Publix," Denehy said.

Just days ago, Santella went to jail, and she reportedly told police, "He (Denehy) did not pay for gas," and "felt she was owed more."

It's a loss this former major leaguer hopes will be a lesson for others.

“She literally was my eyes and my wheels," Denehy said.

When it comes to websites like care.com, it's up to the consumer to protect themselves.

Care.com said it does some preliminary screenings but relies on customers to run background checks offered through their site.

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