By Ashley Cox

MIAMI, Fla. (CW44 News At 10)– There has been a federal indictment unsealed that charges the caretaker of two seniors with accessing to their bank accounts to steal nearly $300,000.

The indictment alleges that from 2016 to 2019, Sherri Lynn Smith worked as a caretaker for an elderly couple in Broward County.  As part of her duties, Smith had access to the victims’ bank accounts to assist them with paying their monthly bills.  Smith used her access to the victims’ bank accounts to embezzle approximately $300,000 out of the victims’ accounts without their knowledge or consent, according to the indictment.

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She accomplished this by writing and forging the victim’s signature on a number of checks made payable to herself, her family members, and her creditors; initiating Zelle electronic money transfers from the victims’ accounts to her own bank account; and making electronic payments from the victims’ accounts to her and her husband’s numerous credit card accounts, it is alleged.

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The indictment returned by a federal grand jury on June 8, 2021, charges Smith with 16 counts of bank fraud and 5 counts of aggravated identity theft.

Smith made her initial federal court appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce E. Reinhart, who sits in West Palm Beach.  If convicted, the maximum prison sentences on each bank fraud count is 30 years.

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The maximum sentence on each aggravated identity fraud charge is two years.  The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, who sits in Ft. Pierce.