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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Tonawanda Woman Pleads Guilty To Mail Fraud

CONTACT:       Barbara Burns
PHONE:           (716) 843-5817 
FAX:               (716) 551-3051

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Kathy Oertelt, 32, of Tonawanda, NY, pleaded guilty before Senior U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny, to mail fraud. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison prison and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney MaryEllen Kresse, who handled the case, said that between April and October 2013, Oertelt, who was employed as a health care provider for an 87-year old legally blind veteran, used the veteran’s signature stamp without his knowledge or permission to issue checks to herself totaling approximately $20,000. The defendant also obtained blank checks from an account the veteran had at the Navy Federal Credit Union in Vienna, Virginia. Oertelt wrote checks to herself on that account totaling approximately $54,000, and used the funds to purchase a 2008 Ford Expedition and a 2001 Suzuki SSXR motorcycle and to fund her gambling habit.

The plea is the culmination of an investigation on the part of Special Agents of the United States Veterans Administration, Office of Inspector General, Criminal Investigations Division, under the direction of Jeffrey G. Hughes, and the United States Secret Service, under the direction Special Agent-in-Charge C. Todd Laster.

Sentencing is scheduled for July 1, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. before Judge Skretny.

Updated March 27, 2015