Durham caretaker sentenced to 18 months for embezzling $300,000 from elderly man

A Durham woman was sentenced to a year and a half in prison for stealing more than $336,000 from an elderly man in her care, according to a news release.

Teresa Denise Schneider, 52, pleaded guilty in February to one count of bank fraud and one count of mail fraud, according to a Department of Justice news release. She was sentenced Thursday in federal court in Winston-Salem.

Schneider was sentenced to a year and a half in prison, as well as five years of supervised release. She must also return the roughly $336,175 she embezzled, according to the news release.

Schneider had faced a maximum sentence of up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine when she pleaded guilty in February, The News & Observer reported.

Schneider was hired to assist a retired doctor in 2010. She began to pay his bills and send the statements to his sons soon after she started working for him, the release said.

After the doctor died, his family learned that Schneider had altered bank statements she sent to his sons, the release said.

Schneider transferred money from the doctor’s deposits and investments, an earlier release said, and made unauthorized purchases on a credit card that included spa treatments, travel, college tuition, eating out, shopping sprees and more than $100,000 transferred to her personal bank account, The News & Observer previously reported.

“Instead of honoring the elder she was hired to assist in his time of need, Ms. Schneider took advantage of her trusted position to defraud him,” said U.S. Attorney Matthew Martin in a news release. “It violates federal law and all standards of decency.”

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Ashad Hajela reports on public safety for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun. He studied journalism at New York University.