Crime & Courts
Woman gets 9 years for fraud against elderly
TAMPA - A woman who stole from her elderly and disabled neighbors, as well as from federal taxpayers, was sentenced Monday to nine years in federal prison by a judge who called her “a walking fraud.” Iris D. Locklear, 59, tearfully apologized and said she has no one to blame but herself for her actions. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Monk said Locklear had been “merciless” when she befriended her now-88-year-old neighbor, Juanita Haitas, and the neighbor’s 67-year-old disabled son, Joseph Sandoval. She persuaded them to give her financial information on the pretense of helping them, and then arranged to drain their bank accounts by having annuities sent to herself.Locklear also used other people’s identities, including that of an incarcerated, convicted murderer, to file fraudulent tax returns. Monk said Locklear’s entire adult life has been spent either committing fraud or serving sentences for fraud. When she committed these offenses, he said, she was on probation for a previous offense. Whittemore called Locklear’s actions “despicable.” He ordered her to pay $249,000 in restitution, including more than $66,000 to the IRS.