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Caretaker embezzled $370,000 from a senior citizen. Now she faces 30 years in prison.

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A 52-year-old Durham woman faces 30 years in federal prison for embezzling $370,000 from a senior citizen in her care and spending the money on spa treatments and shopping sprees.

Teresa Denise Schneider pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on Friday to one count of bank fraud and one count of wire fraud, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Matthew G.T. Martin from North Carolina’s middle district.

Schneider cared for the victim from 2010 until her death in 2013 at age 90, court documents said. Family members worried about Schneider’s handling of the victim’s finances and instructed her to provide bank and credit card statements after 2011.

Inspecting them, Martin’s release said, the family later learned the statements had been changed to eliminate any payments to the caretaker.

Schneider transferred money from her victim’s deposits and investments and “overpay wildly” on a credit card, taking $370,000 in all, the release said. Among the unauthorized purchases Schneider made: spa treatments, travel, college tuition, eating out, “expensive shopping sprees at department stores” and more than $100,000 transferred to her personal bank account.

“We should honor our elders, not steal from them,” Martin said in the release. “Ms. Schneider abused her position of trust as caretaker.”

Sentencing is scheduled for July 18. Schneider faces a penalty of up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

Josh Shaffer covers Wake County and federal courts. He has been a reporter for The News & Observer since 2004 and previously wrote a column about unusual people and places.


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