FULLERTON (CNS) - An Anaheim woman was sentenced to 84 days in jail, or time she has already served in custody, for stealing more than $215,000 from her 94-year-old grandfather over a 14-month period, according to court records obtained today.
In February, Michele Marie Bilbao, 50, admitted 15 felony counts of theft from an elder adult and sentencing enhancement allegations for aggravated white-collar crime exceeding $100,000.
As part of her plea deal she would not receive any more jail time and be placed on five years of formal probation if she handed over the proceeds from the sale of her home to the victim by her sentencing day of Friday, according to court records. She was ordered to pay $123,311.62 in restitution.
The defendant can avoid prison and be put on five years of formal probation if she can repay her grandfather, according to former Senior Deputy District Attorney Marc Labreche.
Orange County Superior Court Judge Scott Steiner was prepared to sentence her to four years in prison if she did not pay any restitution by July 26, according to court records. She faced up to 20 years in prison if she didn't show up for sentencing.
After Bilbao's grandmother died in April 2012, she began helping her grandfather, Frank Centeno, pay his bills, according to a declaration prepared by an Orange County sheriff's investigator in connection with a request to increase the defendant's bail.
In the beginning, she would sit down with her grandfather, sort through the bills and provide him paper statements because he does not use a computer, the investigator said. But in early 2017, she started handling his credit union account electronically and stopped providing him with paper statements, which left Centeno unable to ``monitor his money anymore,'' the investigator wrote.
In June 2017, when the victim's son visited from Iowa, he took Centeno to the bank, where they discovered his accounts had been ``severely depleted,'' according to the investigator.
The victim's credit union account had $237,868.77 in it as of May 2017, but by July 31, 2017, it was down to $21,084.90, the investigator said.
The victim's son called a family meeting and Bilbao agreed to pay back the money, saying she ``borrowed'' it from her grandfather to help a friend she met online who said he was ``sick'' and needed help with medical expenses, the investigator said.