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RACINE – Noreen L. Brever, 59, of Burlington, was charged in Racine County District Court this week of taking money from a relative, including about $20,000 sent to win “an award” from Ghana and Nigeria.
The Racine County District Attorney’s office charged Bever with Theft-Business setting of between $10,000 and $100,000. If convicted, she could be sentenced to 10 years and prison and/or fined $25,000.
Bever was in custody in the Racine County Jail on a $1,000 cash bond as of Thursday afternoon.
According to the criminal complaint, she was guardian over her sister, identified as S.L., from March 2018 until August 2019. Mount Pleasant Police Department investigators became involved in May 2019 after Racine County Adult Protective Services received a complaint from Ridgewood Care Center, where Brever’s sister had been living.
A Ridgewood employee, who discovered the problem, stated that Brever had been “withdrawing substantial amounts of money” from the sister’s bank account. In a written statement made to the Ridgewood employee, Brever said she withdrew more than $20,000 from the account and “used the funds to pay personal bills and for herself,” the complaint stated. Brever could not provide documentation of where she spent the money.
A Mount Pleasant Police investigator reviewed transactions from the sister’s bank account between May 2018 and May 2019. Although there were “several transactions to Ridgewood,” the investigator observed “various suspicious withdrawals,” the complaint stated. The investigator calculated that Brever “withdrew $61,793.26 from the account over eight months,” leaving the account empty.
In a later interview with the investigator, Brever “admitted to borrowing some other money for other withdrawals and was going to pay it back with the money she won from ‘an award,’” the complaint stated. Brever claimed she sent approximately $20,000 of the money to Ghana and Nigeria.
A further investigation revealed that Brever completed wire transfers of $16,510 to locations in the U.S., Ghana and Nigeria.
A court summons was issued for Brever on March 1, according to online court records. An initial appearance was scheduled for March 18 but was adjourned twice until Wednesday, when Brever could not show that she had an attorney. In the meantime, Brever’s sister’s current guardian requested that Brever make $100,000 in restitution.
Brever was taken into custody Wednesday and the cash bond was set at $1,000. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 15 at the Racine County Law Enforcement Center, 717 Wisconsin Ave.
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