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Woman avoids jail, restitution in theft of $20K from mother

LOCKPORT - Five years' probation was the sentence from Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Friday for a Niagara Falls woman who stole more than $20,000 from her 94-year-old mother.

Adrienne M. Wheeler, 62, of 63rd Street, who took the money to feed her addiction to opiates, pleaded guilty Oct. 21 to a reduced charge of attempted third-degree grand larceny in exchange for a promise of probation. She took the money from her mother's retirement accounts and also opened credit cards in her mom's name between August 2015 and March of this year. Wheeler said she's now off drugs and is going through treatment.

Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth R. Donatello said the victim didn't ask for any restitution, instead seeking her daughter's help in clearing up financial issues relating to the identity thefts. Some of the financial institutions involved did demand restitution, but Sheldon said because they didn't do so before Wheeler pleaded guilty, she couldn't order repayment.


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