Federal authorities indicted a woman living in Thibodeaux, Louisiana, for stealing almost $370,000 from her terminally ill mother. The woman is now facing federal charges for wire fraud and money laundering.
The money was accumulated in the retirement account of the woman's father. He passed his substantial savings to his wife when he died.
The couple's daughter obtained a power of attorney in 2008 authorizing her to act on her mother's behalf. The indictment alleges that, according to the investment management company that managed the funds, the defendant took control of the account and used the money for "personal enrichment, cosmetic surgery and travel, among other things."
The indictment means that the grand jury found enough evidence to prove a prima facie case. A prima facie case amounts to a finding by the grand jury that evidence produced by the prosecution would be sufficient to establish guilt unless rebutted by the defendant.
The defendant has been charged with 18 counts of federal wire fraud and money laundering. If convicted, the defendant faces up to 20 years in prison for each count, a $250,000 fine, up to three years of supervised release and an order to make restitution. The woman is being held in the LaFourche Parish Jail on an unspecified charge of contempt of court.
The defendant in this case is facing very serious criminal charges. She is facing both a substantial period of incarceration and severe financial penalties. Anyone facing similar charges may wish to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney for advice on the law of the case, the strength of the evidence and an estimate of the likelihood of obtaining a favorable plea agreement or an outright acquittal.
Source: The Courier, "Thibodaux woman accused of stealing from terminally ill mother," Dan Copp, July 24, 2017