NewsCrime and Courts


Butte woman sentenced for defrauding blind, elderly woman in her care

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Posted at 1:41 PM, Aug 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-12 15:41:19-04

MISSOULA - After pleading guilty in April to charges of money laundering and wire fraud, 66-year-old Debra Gean Roeber of Butte was sentenced on Wednesday to one year and a day in prison, according to U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich.

Court documents say Roeber was appointed as guardian and conservator for the victim, identified as Jane Doe, who was unable to care for herself or her financial needs without assistance because she was blind.

Prosecutors alleged that from roughly January 2017 until June 2020, Roeber stole $661,549 from Jane Doe and used the money for, among other things, construction projects on lake property at Canyon Ferry, vehicles, furniture, a pontoon boat, and cash.

None of the expenditures was authorized, and Roeber allegedly admitted to investigators that she lied “a lot” to Doe, who is now deceased.

“Motivated purely by greed, Roeber defrauded the victim and betrayed her trust. This was a truly reprehensible crime aggravated by the fact that the victim was blind,” said Special Agent in Charge Dennis Rice of the Salt Lake City FBI. “Our elderly citizens should be valued, not victimized. The FBI and our law enforcement partners will hold accountable those who prey on society’s vulnerable populations.”

U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen presided and additionally ordered Roeber to pa $661,549.00 in restitution and serve three years of supervised release after her prison term.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan G. Weldon prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the FBI and IRS Criminal Investigation.