By Kevin Deutsch
A Broward County caretaker who stole money from a senior couple to help buy a new house in Tamarac was sentenced to four years and three months in federal prison Friday, prosecutors said.
Sherri Lynn Smith, 52, will also serve four years of supervised release for stealing nearly $300,000 from the elderly couple while employed as their caretaker, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Smith worked as a caretaker for the couple at their Plantation home from 2016 until 2019. She had access to their bank accounts in order to pay their monthly bills—access she used to embezzle money from the victim’s accounts without their knowledge.
Smith accomplished her fraud by writing and forging the victims’ signatures on checks made payable to herself, her family members, and her creditors; initiating Zelle electronic money transfers from the victims’ accounts to her own bank account; and making electronic payments from the victims’ accounts to her and her husband’s numerous credit card accounts, prosecutors said.
Smith used the approximately $300,000 in embezzled funds to put a down payment on a home she purchased at the 7700 block of NW 73rd Terrace in Tamarac in 2018, records show. She also used stolen money to install a new air conditioning unit in the home and pay for new windows and a fence on the property, according to the federal court documents.
Smith pleaded guilty in May to bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.
In addition to sentencing Smith to prison and supervised release, U.S. District Judge Thomas P. Barber entered a forfeiture money judgment for $288,865.92 and ordered Smith to pay $168,895.92 in restitution.
- 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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