Aiken woman gets 3 years for defrauding woman

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — An Aiken woman has been sentenced to nearly three years for defrauding an elderly woman.

U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles said Tuesday Tabitha Ruth Smith-McDaniel was also ordered to pay more than $98,000 restitution to the estate of the woman, who has since died.

Smith-McDaniel pleaded guilty to mail fraud in September. Prosecutors say she provided home health care to a North Augusta woman who had suffered a stroke.

With the woman's power of attorney, Nettles says Smith-McDaniel opened charge accounts in the woman's name and used her home as collateral for a loan.

The home was repossessed and sold in foreclosure. Nettles says Smith-McDaniel also terminated the woman's life insurance policy and deposited a refund check into her own account. The woman died shortly after filing for bankruptcy in 2006.

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