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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of North Carolina

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 15, 2019

Durham Woman Sentenced to 18 Months for Elder Fraud Abuse

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. B A Durham resident was sentenced today in federal court in Winston-Salem on bank fraud and wire fraud charges, announced United States Attorney Matthew G.T. Martin of the Middle District of North Carolina.

TERESA DENISE SCHNEIDER, age 52, of Durham, North Carolina, was sentenced to an 18 month term of imprisonment by United States District Judge Loretta Copeland Biggs. In addition, SCHNEIDER was ordered to serve five years of supervised release after completing her sentence, to make restitution in the amount of $336,173.89, and is subject to a forfeiture money judgment in the amount of $336,173.89. SCHNEIDER pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud and one count of mail fraud in February 2019.

In 2010, SCHNEIDER was hired to help a retired doctor with meals, household cleaning, personal care, and shopping. SCHNEIDER also began to help her client pay his bills. In order to provide accountability, the client asked SCHNEIDER to provide copies of the monthly bank and credit card statements for all accounts held in his name to one of his sons. SCHNEIDER complied and emailed the monthly statements to her client’s son for his review. At no time did SCHNEIDER have signature authority on or any access to funds kept in any accounts, nor did she have her client’s power of attorney.

The client died in October 2013. While working on the father’s estate, his sons discovered that the statements provided by SCHNEIDER had been altered to remove and conceal transfers of funds to SCHNEIDER. Further investigation by the family and law enforcement revealed that SCHNEIDER had embezzled approximately $336,000.00 prior to the client’s death.

“Instead of honoring the elder she was hired to assist in his time of need, Ms. Schneider took advantage of her trusted position to defraud him. Thank you to the SBI and the US Postal Inspection Service for excellent work on this case. Financial fraud and exploitation of seniors in our communities is despicable. It violates federal law and all standards of decency,” said U.S. Attorney Martin. “It is a growing problem. That’s why the Department of Justice has made addressing elder fraud a priority, and why our office will aggressively investigate and prosecute these crimes.”

Locally, the United States Attorney’s Office works with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the AARP to educate and inform senior Americans, their caregivers, and the public about fraud schemes targeting the elderly. The next program will take place at The Shepherd’s Center, 1700 Ebert Street, Winston-Salem, NC, on Monday, August 19, 2019 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

The SCHNEIDER case was investigated by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and the United States Postal Inspection Service. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Frank J. Chut, Jr.

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Updated August 16, 2019