MISSOULA - A Butte woman pleaded guilty on Monday to allegations that she stole more than $600,000 from a blind woman under her guardianship and used the money to buy a house, a vehicle, and other items, according to U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson.
Court documents say Debra Gean Roeber, 66, was a guardian and had power of attorney for the victim who was unable to care for herself or her financial needs without assistance due to her blindness.
Roeber was a fiduciary for the victim, identified as Jane Doe, and from around January 2017 to June 2020, Roeber allegedly embezzled approximately $681,549 from Doe.
According to court documents, bank records show Roeber used Jane Doe's money for unauthorized charges that include the purchase of a home and shop on Canyon Ferry, construction costs, vehicles, furniture, and a pontoon boat.
Roeber reportedly told agents during an interview that she took advantage of Jane Doe, now deceased, "a lot," including stealing from her and lying to her about her finances.
Roeber pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering and faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release on the wire fraud count.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Kathleen L. DeSoto presided. A sentencing date was set for Aug. 10 before U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan G. Weldon is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the FBI and IRS Criminal Investigation.