OAKLAND — Federal prosecutors have charged an Alameda woman with fraud after reportedly uncovering evidence she took more than $360,000 from a couple in their 70s who were suffering from early onset dementia, according to court records.
Heidi Miller was charged Sept. 29 with access device fraud, and freed on her own recognizance on Oct. 5, according to a recently-unsealed criminal complaint. Though Miller is charged with taking $360,000, prosecutors say they uncovered more than half a million worth of “unauthorized transactions” taken from the victims’ bank accounts during a three-year period, beginning in 2016.
The family of the alleged victims, who live in Moraga, hired Miller as a caretaker in 2016. She was not authorized to take money from their accounts but began doing so within days of her employment, according to prosecutors.
The alleged crimes were discovered after April 2019, when Miller’s employment with the couple ended, the complaint says.
The complaint accuses Miller of using the money to buy breast augmentation surgery from a Lafayette plastic surgery business, thousands of dollars worth of various items for Millers’ five pets, a Disneyland trip, Princess Cruises, and other personal expenses.
On several occasions, Miller posed as one of the victims in order to deplete their accounts, the complaint alleges. One of the victims is a military veteran and the money came from his or her retirement account, according to a sworn statement by an FBI agent.
The access device charge carries a maximum of 15 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.
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Author: Nate Gartrell