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FORT PIERCE, Fla. – A Florida woman who pleaded guilty to stealing nearly $300,000 from a couple in their 90s was sentenced to 51 months in federal prison on Wednesday.

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Sherri Lynn Smith, 52, of Tamarac, was sentenced by a U.S. federal district judge in Fort Pierce, the Miami Herald reported.

According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, Smith pleaded guilty to committing bank fraud and aggravated identity theft when she used the private financial information of two seniors in her care to steal their money.

The sentence consists of 27 months for bank fraud served consecutively and two years for fraud with identification documents, the Herald reported. She also must pay $168,895 restitution and a cash forfeiture of $288,865, according to the newspaper.

Her sentence begins on Dec. 1.

From 2016 to 2019, Smith worked as a caretaker for the couple in Broward County, according to the news release. Smith’s guilty plea said that once the husband suffered a stroke, the couple’s son-in-law hired Smith to help with their personal and financial affairs.

As part of her duties, Smith was given access to the victims’ bank accounts in order to help them pay their monthly bills. Instead, she used the access to steal $288,865 without the victims’ knowledge or consent.

Prosecutors said Smith wrote checks payable to herself and forged the victims’ signatures. Checks were also made out to family members and her credits, and she initiated Zelle electronic money transfers to her own account, the release stated.

According to the Herald, Smith spent $500 to pay for the ballroom used for her daughter’s wedding reception in 2017; $6,000 on new windows, a fence and air-conditioning unit for her home; and also made a $16,000 down payment on the house with a check made payable to her real estate closing attorney on June 21, 2018.

The newspaper reported that Smith made two electronic payments totaling $2,674.33 to her husband’s Chase credit card account in February 2019 and April 2019.

The Zelle transfers totaled $46,000, the Herald reported.

The couple’s son-in-law who hired Smith discovered the thefts, according to the newspaper.