Butte woman admits stealing more than $600,000 from victim under her guardianship
MISSOULA — A Butte woman accused of embezzling more than $600,000 from a woman who was under her guardianship and using the money to buy a house on Canyon Ferry, a vehicle and other items admitted to fraud charges today, U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson said.
Debra Gean Roeber, 66, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and to money laundering as charged in an information during an initial appearance hearing. Roeber faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release on the wire fraud count.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Kathleen L. DeSoto presided. A sentencing date was set for Aug. 10 before U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen. The court will determine a sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other sentencing factors. Roeber was released pending further proceedings.
The government alleged in court documents that Roeber was a guardian and had power of attorney for the victim, identified as Jane Doe, who was unable to care for herself or her financial needs without assistance because she was blind. Roeber served as a fiduciary for Jane Doe. From about January 2017 until June 2020, Roeber allegedly embezzled approximately $681,549 from Jane Doe. Bank records showed that Roeber used Jane Doe’s money to purchase a home and shop on Canyon Ferry, construction costs, vehicles, furniture and a pontoon boat, none of which was authorized. When interviewed by agents, Roeber admitted she took advantage of Jane Doe “a lot,” including lying to the victim about her finances, and that she stole from Jane Doe. Jane Doe is now deceased.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan G. Weldon is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the FBI and IRS Criminal Investigation.