SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office announced on Monday that 54-year-old Santa Barbara resident Allyson Maura Cowell was found guilty of 52 theft related felony charges.
The charges include two counts of financial elder abuse, 25 counts of forgery, 24 counts of money laundering, and one count of grand theft.
"The jury also found true two special allegations that the amount of theft related to the financial elder abuse exceeded $200,000, and that the financial elder abuse, forgery, and money laundering were related felonies that caused a loss of over $500,000 to the victim," said the District Attorney's Office in a statement.
The court found that Cowell stole $648,000 from a relative over a period of nine months by forging the relative's signature on checks connected to an investment account. Cowell also forged the relative's name on paperwork that allowed her to sell back a family burial plot to the Santa Barbara Cemetery for $11,815.
Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley said, "Financial crime victims are always extremely disturbed by the actions of a thief who deprives them of their hard earned resources, but financial elder abuse by a family member is often devastating. The Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office is committed to protecting our most vulnerable of victims and therefore will continue to vigorously prosecute those that victimize our elderly."
Cowell will be sentenced on April 14 in Santa Barbara Superior Court. She faces a maximum sentence of 28 years in state prison for her crimes.