A 47-year-old West Orange woman admitted Monday to stealing nearly $100,000 from an elderly woman to pay for hotel rooms, dinners, shopping sprees and bills, authorities said.
Shawn Craig pleaded guilty Monday in a Trenton federal court today to mail fraud and filing a false personal federal income tax return, according to U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman.
Nearly three years ago, Craig bilked an elderly woman's finances when she was given power of attorney over the East Orange woman, Fishman said.
Craig used the power of attorney to divert a portion of the elderly woman's funds —mainly socials security — to pay her automobile insurance, purchase a bar and bar stools, make a tuition payment and other expenses, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's office.
In December of 2010, Craig submitted a reverse mortgage forging the woman's signature on her East Orange home, the office said.
According to Fishman, Craig used the money from the reverse mortgage to purchase items at retail, such as Gucci, Coach and Nike, as well as food and travel expenses in Atlantic City, California and Florida. She also used to money to pay her bills.
In 2011, Craig's power of attorney was revoked and she transferred $99,000 out of the East Orange woman's bank account into another account, the release said.
She also admitted to filing a false tax return, failing to list the money she receive from defrauded the elderly woman of, according to authorities.
Craig faces a maximum penalty of 23 years in prison and a $500,000 fine for the tax and fraud charges. In addition, the plea agreement requires Craig to make restitution to the East Orange woman.