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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 27, 2022

South Florida Caretaker Who Stole Hundreds of Thousands From Elderly Couple Pleads Guilty to Federal Crimes

Miami, Florida – Yesterday, in federal district court in Fort Pierce, Sherri Lynn Smith, 52, admitted that she committed bank fraud and aggravated identity theft when she used the private financial information of two seniors in her care to steal the couple’s money.

Smith worked as a caretaker for the Broward County elderly couple from 2016 through 2019. Smith had access to the victims’ bank accounts to assist them with paying their monthly bills. She used that access to embezzle approximately $300,000 out of the victims’ bank accounts without their knowledge or consent. Smith accomplished this by forging a victim’s signature on several checks made payable to herself, her family members, and her creditors.  Smith also transferred  money electronically from the victims’ bank accounts to her own and made  electronic payments from the victims’ accounts to numerous credit card accounts belonging to Smith and her husband. 

United States District Court Judge Thomas Barber, a visiting judge from the Middle District of Florida, will sentence Smith at 1:00 p.m. on August 26, in Fort Pierce.  Smith faces a maximum prison sentence of 30 years on the bank fraud charge and two years on each of the aggravated identity theft counts, for a total possible sentence of 34 years.

Juan Antonio Gonzalez, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Miami, made the announcement.  

FBI Miami investigated the case.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacey Bergstrom is prosecuting it. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mitchell Hyman is handling asset forfeiture. 

Combatting elder abuse and financial fraud targeted at seniors is a key priority of the Department of Justice. The mission of the Department’s Elder Justice Initiative is to support and coordinate the Department’s enforcement and programmatic efforts to combat elder abuse, neglect and financial fraud and scams that target our nation’s seniors. To learn more visit https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice.  The public is encouraged to report victimization and suspected fraud schemes by calling the National Elder Fraud Hotline at 1-833-FRAUD 11 (1-833- 372-8311).  

You may find related court documents and information on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or at http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov, under case number 21-cr-14023. 

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Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Identity Theft
Elder Justice
Contact: 
Marlene Rodriguez Special Counsel to the U.S. Attorney Public Affairs Officer USAFLS.News@usdoj.gov
Updated May 31, 2022