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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of South Dakota

Friday, January 6, 2017

Watertown Woman Pleads Guilty to Fraud

United States Attorney Randolph J. Seiler announced that Michele Ann Palm, age 51, of Watertown, South Dakota, appeared before the Honorable Charles B. Kornmann, U.S. District Judge, on January 6, 2017, and pled guilty to an Indictment that charged her with wire fraud.


The maximum penalty upon conviction is 20 years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine, plus restitution.


Palm was appointed to serve as guardian and conservator for a woman she had known for several years. Beginning in March 2008, Palm wrote checks to herself and made ATM cash withdrawals from the victim’s account, and used the funds for her own purposes rather than for the benefit of the protected person. Because some of the transactions involved interstate electronic wire transmissions, Palm’s theft is a federal offense.


The investigation was conducted by the Watertown Police Department and the U.S. Secret Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann M. Hoffman.


A presentence investigation was ordered and a sentencing date was set for May 30, 2017. Palm was released pending sentencing.

Financial Fraud
Updated January 6, 2017