April 11– A local woman has been sentenced to federal prison for defrauding a disabled couple of more than $500,000 in less than a year.
Edward L. Stanton III, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, announced the sentence today.
The Justice Department said that according to information presented in court, Martha Bizzell, 41, of Crump, served as the guardian for an elderly and disabled couple between November 2011 and July 2012.
In November 2011, James Robertson, then 81, of Peoria, Illinois, was severely beaten in a home invasion at his residence. He lived at the home with his wife, Helen, who suffered from dementia. Although James Robertson survived the attack, he was no longer able to live on his own and care for his wife.
At the time of the home invasion, the estate of the Robertsons was valued at approximately $1.5 million. The couple had more than 50 rental properties in Illinois; approximately $585,000 in Caterpillar Inc. stock; approximately $638,000 in other investment accounts; and approximately $83,000 in credit union accounts.
Shortly after the home invasion, Bizzell, a distant relative of James Robertson, was appointed as temporary guardian of the Robertsons’ estate by order of Peoria County Probate Court. She was made the couple’s plenary guardian in January 2012, and subsequently moved them to Crump.