By Kevin Deutsch
A Broward County caretaker has pleaded guilty to federal crimes after admitting she stole money from a senior couple to put a down payment on a new house in Tamarac, court records show.
Sherri Lynn Smith, 52, also used some of the approximately $300,000 she embezzled from the victims’ bank accounts to install a new air conditioning unit in the Tamarac home and pay for new windows and a fence on the property, according to the federal court documents.
Smith admitted she committed bank fraud and aggravated identity theft when she used the private financial information of the two seniors in her care to steal the money.
Smith, who purchased the home at 7703 NW 73rd Terrace in Tamarac in 2018, worked as a caretaker for the Plantation couple from 2016 through 2019, records show.
Prosecutors said she had access to the victims’ bank accounts to help them pay their monthly bills and forged one victim’s signature on several checks made payable to herself, her family members, and her creditors.
Smith also transferred money electronically from the victims’ bank accounts to her own and made electronic payments from the victims’ accounts to numerous credit card accounts belonging to Smith and her husband, records show.
U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Barber will sentence Smith on August 26 in federal court in Fort Pierce.
The caretaker faces a maximum prison sentence of 30 years on the bank fraud charge and two years on each aggravated identity theft counts, for a total possible sentence of 34 years.
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- Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.
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