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Health care aide admits stealing $75,000 from blind man

A woman who cheated an 87-year-old blind man out of $75,000 admitted her guilt Thursday in federal court.

Kathy Oertelt, 32, of the Town of Tonawanda, pleaded guilty to mail fraud before U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny and will face a recommended maximum sentence of 27 months in prison.

Oertelt was a health care provider for the victim and was authorized to read his mail and write checks for him, Assistant U.S. Attorney MaryEllen Kresse said. The victim used a signature stamp on the checks.

In 2013, Oertelt used the signature stamp on 32 checks to herself that were either written without the victim’s knowledge or authority or were for dollar amounts he had not approved. She also wrote five checks from a different account without his knowledge or permission and used that money to buy a 2008 gold Ford Expedition and a 2001 Suzuki SSXR motorcycle.

In total, Oertelt defrauded the victim out of $75,333, money she will have to repay in restitution to the victim.