Local News

Durham woman pleads guilty to stealing from elderly man in her care

Posted February 11, 2019 11:42 a.m. EST
Updated August 15, 2019 3:57 p.m. EDT

— A Durham woman has pleaded guilty to stealing about $370,000 from an elderly man she was caring for, federal authorities said Monday.

Teresa Denise Schneider, 52, pleaded guilty Friday to bank fraud and wire fraud. She will be sentenced in July, when she faces up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine and will likely be required to make restitution to the woman's estate.

According to court documents, Schneider cared for the man from 2010 until he died in 2013 at age 90. Family members became concerned about Schneider’s involvement in the man’s finances and, in September 2011, demanded that she provide monthly copies of all bank and credit card statements.

Schneider complied, but after the man’s death, the family discovered that the account statements Schneider provided had been altered to remove or conceal transfers of funds to her, authorities said.

Authorities said Schneider transferred funds from the man’s deposit and investment accounts to overpay the man's credit card account by tens of thousands of dollars. She then converted the money to her own use by racking up unauthorized purchases on the card, including paying for spa treatments, travel, college tuition, dining and expensive shopping sprees at department stores, authorities said. She also used a direct transfer feature of the credit card to shift more than $100,000 to her personal bank account, they said.

"We should honor our elders, not steal from them," U.S. Attorney Matthew G.T. Martin said in a statement. "Ms. Schneider abused her position of trust as caretaker."