Lake St. Louis woman sentenced to prison for defrauding ailing uncle

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U.S. District Judge Henry E. Autrey on Tuesday sentenced a woman from Lake St. Louis, Missouri to 15 months in prison for stealing from her elderly, ailing uncle.

Judge Autrey also ordered Jessica Medrano, 42, to repay $79,827. Medrano pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in St. Louis in May to five felony counts of wire fraud and one felony count of access device fraud and admitted defrauding her uncle in two ways.

Medrano’s uncle, who is now 73 and suffers from multiple health issues, entrusted Medrano with his debit card so she could make purchases on his behalf. Medrano instead used the card to make online and in-store purchases totaling more than $12,000 at Walmart for herself and other relatives between Jan. 21, 2022, and May 16, 2022, her plea agreement says.

Between Jan. 24, 2022, and June 6, 2022, Medrano also transferred a total of $57,950 from her uncle’s bank account to her own account via Cash App and her uncle’s debit card.

An investigation began when the victim’s bank alerted the Warren County Sheriff’s Department, according to testimony during the sentencing hearing.

In a sentencing memorandum, Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracy Berry said Medrano’s “financial exploitation of vulnerable individuals and her family members has escalated” since she stole and forged two checks from her stepfather’s relative while he was hospitalized in 2009.

Medrano’s used her uncle’s debit card to buy clothing and food at Walmart, but also jewelry, electronics, candy, beer, furniture, art supplies, home décor, phone cards, cat food, cat treats, fashion accessories, dishes, warranty protection plans, and party supplies, the memo says. Medrano also nearly drained her uncle’s bank account with Cash App, with her final transfer leaving $88 in an account that once exceeded $71,000.

The Warren County Sheriff’s Department and Homeland Security Investigations handled the investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracy Berry prosecuted the case.

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