A woman who stole the identities of an elderly woman and her deceased son in order to withdraw nearly $200,000 from their bank accounts was sentenced Tuesday to seven years in federal prison.
61-year old Robin Bertelli of Cedar Rapids pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.
In a plea agreement, and at her plea hearing, Bertelli admitted that, in 2013 she began a romantic relationship with a former Navy SEAL, who resided with his elderly and widowed mother in rural Central City. Bertelli soon moved into the home the widow and her son shared. The widow was unable to walk to her mailbox to get her mail, and Bertelli stole mail, including mail from the widow’s financial institution.
Three years ago, the former Navy SEAL received an inheritance of approximately $18,000 from a relative and deposited this inheritance into his checking account. Just two months later on a trip to Puerto Rico with Bertelli, the former Navy SEAL unexpectedly died. Bertelli reported to others that the former Navy SEAL went swimming, hit his head on a rock and accidentally drowned.
His family members ultimately discovered that Bertelli had stolen blank checks from the former Navy SEAL and his mother. For over three years, Bertelli fraudulently made over 60 checks payable to herself, inserted a dollar amount, and forged their signatures – stealing a total of $192,500 from their accounts and using the funds to purchase gifts for herself.
In addition to her seven year sentence, Bertelli was also ordered to make over $192,000 in restitution to her victims.