Central City Woman Sentenced to Five Years in Federal Prison for Elder Financial Abuse and Identity Theft Scheme
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa
Stole Over $400,000 From Two Elderly Relatives by Assuming Identity of Power of Attorney
A Central City, Iowa, woman who stole over $400,000 from two elderly relatives was sentenced today to five years in federal prison. Carrie April Martin, age 44, received the prison term after a September 26, 2022 guilty plea to one count of bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.
Evidence at Martin’s plea and sentencing hearings established that Martin had two elderly relatives, Victim-1 and Victim-2, in the Cedar Rapids area. Victim-1 was an elderly widow who was indigent, lived in a nursing home, and suffered from dementia and various physical ailments. Victim-2 was also an elderly widow in poor physical and mental health but had significant assets and lived in an assisted living facility. Victim-1 died at the age of 89 in December 2014, and Victim-2 died at the age of 96 in October 2017.
Between April 2014 and July 2017, Martin stole checks drawn on accounts at a credit union from Victim-1 and Victim-2. Another one of Martin’s relatives was the power of attorney for the two elderly widows and had full legal authority to act for them. From time to time, Martin stole the power of attorney’s identity and wrote checks to herself from her victims’ accounts at the credit union. Martin also leveraged her friendship with the office administrator at the local branch of a national investment firm to access an account that Victim-2 held at the firm. Martin also sold over $100,000 worth of stock that Victim-2 held in an energy company, which Victim-2 intended to bequeath to a church in Elkader. In total, Martin stole over $416,000 from Victim-1 and Victim-2.
Victim-2 went into hospice care less than a week after learning of defendant’s theft, which left Victim-2 with minimal assets. When informed that Martin lacked funds to repay Victim-2, Victim-2 asked that Martin be charged and held accountable for her scheme. Victim-2 died within a month’s time.
Evidence at Martin’s sentencing also established that Martin made false statements to a fraud specialist at her credit union and law enforcement to cover up her crimes. In May 2022, Martin told two witnesses to “just watch what you say” and, “If they don’t specifically ask, don’t give information.”
Martin was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams. Martin was sentenced to 60 months’ imprisonment. She was ordered to make $416,910.82 in restitution to her victim’s heirs, including the power of attorney and the church. She must also serve a five-year term of supervised release after the prison term. There is no parole in the federal system.
In 2016, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Iowa was selected as one of 10 districts in the nation to form an Elder Justice Task Force (http://go.usa.gov/cSngj). The task force was assembled to foster a collaborative working relationship among all levels of government officials, advocacy groups for the elderly and the disabled, and others charged with the care and protection for these vulnerable groups. The goals include ensuring the integrity of all government expenditures by eliminating fraud, waste, and abuse in health programs, and protecting some of the state’s most vulnerable citizens from harm, whether it occurs in nursing homes or other institutions or involves financial fraud schemes. To learn more about the Department of Justice’s Elder Justice Initiative, visit: https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice/
This week, the Department of Justice joins millions around the world in commemorating World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), a day intended to raise public awareness of the fight against elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation. Research sponsored by the Department’s National Institute of Justice finds that millions of older Americans experience some form of elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation every year, often by someone they love. The harms resulting from mistreatment of older Americans drives our work every day. Today, the Department of Justice is proud to announce 10 new resources to train, inform, and support elder justice professionals across the country.
Martin was released on the bond previously set and is to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on a date yet to be set. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Timothy L. Vavricek and investigated by the Cedar Rapids Police Department. Court file information at https://ecf.iand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl. The case file number is 22-CR-51.
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Updated June 13, 2023