Caretaker given 4-year prison sentence for taking $100,000
August 21, 2007
A 46-year-old Dayton woman who continued to plunder the account of a mentally disabled man after his death was sentenced Tuesday to four years in Nevada State Prison and ordered to repay $100,000.
District Judge Dave Gamble told Sandra Vasquez she must serve 12 months before she is eligible for parole. She pleaded guilty to forgery and is the subject of a civil judgment of $190,566.43.
She admitted taking funds from a trust fund for William Reifer, 63, who died Aug. 12, 2004, of a brain tumor.
Reifer had been diagnosed at age 12 as a paranoid schizophrenic. His father set up a $2 million trust fund in 1993 to provide financial security for his son.
District Attorney Mark Jackson said Vasquez victimized Reifer following brain surgery and continued taking money following his death even after District Judge Michael Gibbons froze his accounts and issued a temporary restraining order.
“Mr. Reifer was dying. He had brain surgery, it affected his speech,” Jackson said. “He was having seizures and heavily medicated from the time she met Mr. Reifer.”
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Jackson discounted Vasquez’s claims that she was trying to help Reifer.
“She claims she did it out of the kindness of her heart, but she did it for the goodness of her wallet.”
Jackson said no one knew what happened to the money.
“Where is the money? We don’t know. It went into the bank account and out of the bank account,” he said. “We don’t know if she buried it or if it is being held by someone else.”
Vasquez told Gamble the money was gone.
She said she didn’t start out to steal from Reifer.
“I did take the money, but not intentionally,” she said. “When I came into Mr. Reifer’s life, I had opened my own business. I was working for Mr. Reifer and I just had all these bills.”
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