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Press Release

In-home Caretaker Sentenced for Stealing More Than $80,000 from her Client’s Estate

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Tennessee

Memphis, TN – An in-home caretaker has been sentenced to 27 months for executing a scheme that defrauded a deceased woman’s estate of more than $80,000. Edward L. Stanton III, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, announced the sentencing today.

According to the indictment, Shirley Hardaway, 60, of Memphis, was the owner and operator of Companion Plus, an in-home health and respite care provider to sick, disabled, and elderly people. Hardaway served as the daily in-home caretaker of the deceased victim for approximately four-to-five years, according to information presented in court. The home services ceased when the victim died in September 2009 at the age of 91. The deceased victim left behind more than $80,000 in two investment accounts at Franklin Templeton Investments, an investment managing company headquartered in California.

Nearly two years after the victim’s death, in June 2011, Hardaway mailed fraudulent change of address requests to Franklin Templeton on the decedent’s investment accounts, changing the address used for future correspondence between the parties to Hardaway’s address.

Hardaway and a co-conspirator then opened a fraudulent bank account online in the decedent’s name at Bank of America. The victim’s name, social security account number, and address were used to open the account.

After the Bank of America account was activated, Hardaway and her co-conspirator mailed several fraudulent documents to Franklin Templeton in the decedent’s name requesting that the company liquidate the victim’s two investment accounts and transfer the money within them to the fraudulently opened bank account. Upon receiving the request to liquidate both of the deceased victim’s accounts, Franklin Templeton electronically transferred more than $80,000 to the bank account. Hardaway then transferred the money to her personal Bank of America savings account and withdrew it all via cashier’s check.

On Thursday, October 8th, 2015, Hardaway pled guilty to one count of bank fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud.

On Wednesday, January 6, 2016, Judge Jon Phipps McCalla sentenced Hardaway to 27 months in federal prison. She has also been ordered to pay $124,630.54 in restitution. In addition to the approximate $80,000 Hardaway stole from the victim’s investment accounts, she stole more than $40,000 in social security checks and pension dividend checks.

The case was investigated by the United States Secret Service.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Leetra Harris prosecuted this case on the government’s behalf.

Updated January 6, 2016