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Press Release

Anchorage Woman Sentenced To A Year In Prison And Six Months In A Halfway House For Defrauding An Elderly Widow Of Over $70,000

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Alaska

Anchorage, Alaska – U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today that an Anchorage woman was sentenced in federal court in Anchorage for three counts of defrauding an elderly woman of over $70,000. 

Susanna Difranco, 53, of Anchorage, Alaska, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Timothy M. Burgess to a year in prison and six months in a halfway house.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Aunnie Steward, Difranco obtained financial information of an elderly woman who is a widow and has dementia, and used that information to get online access to the victim’s bank account and obtain a debit card on the victim’s bank account.  Difranco also changed the address of the victim’s mail to her own so she would receive all of the victim’s mail.  In so doing, Difranco was able to steal over $70,000 of the victim’s money in little over a month.  When the bank questioned Difranco about the money she was withdrawing from the victim’s account, Difranco provided a notarized statement to the bank in which she lied and said she was keeping the money in a safe deposit box on behalf of the victim when, in fact, Difranco had spent all of the money on online shopping, paying her own credit card bill, and booking herself a trip to Las Vegas, among other things.

Judge Burgess said that as a teacher Ms. Difranco had done a lot of good, but that she also had a dark side that allowed her to take advantage of the victim in this case.  Judge Burgess noted that, in addition to this case, Ms. Difranco did not have a good track record because the state had issued two protective orders against her from defrauding her elderly parents. 

“The sentence reflects our commitment along with that of our state and local partners to protect vulnerable victims and pursue those that would prey on them,” said U.S. Attorney Loeffler.

“Postal Inspectors worked closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our partners in law enforcement in Anchorage and the surrounding area on this investigation,” said Seattle Division Inspector in Charge Anthony Galetti of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.  “We take crimes against the elderly and crimes committed by people in a position of trust very seriously and will continue to vigorously protect the U.S. Mail and customers against all forms of criminal attack and misuse.”

U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler commends the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Anchorage Police Department, with assistance from the Alaska Office of Elder Fraud and Assistance, for the investigation of this case.

Updated December 31, 2015

Consumer Protection
Financial Fraud