Deltona, FL – A Deltona woman was arrested on Wednesday and she’s now facing over 50 felony charges for swindling several elderly victims.
60-year-old Sonia Gautier was arrested Wednesday on charges of burglary, theft of a credit card, illegal use of a credit card, and 7 counts of dealing in stolen property. Then on Thursday, Volusia County Sheriff’s Office detectives filed an additional 44 felony charges against her. And to make matters worse, they think there are probably more victims out there that they don’t know about yet.
Reports say she would show up at garage sales and sweet talk her way into people’s homes and gain access to money, wallets and credit cards. She even went as far as disguising herself as a healthcare worker in order to gain access to other’s property.
In one case, Gautier approached an 80-year old woman in her front yard in Deltona and struck up a conversation with her about homes for sale in the neighborhood. Another victim, 93-years old, was approached by Gautier, who was dressed as a healthcare employee. She offered to help him find his insurance card in his wallet and walked away with his money and credit cards. At least two other women were victimized at garage sales.
“The victims are trustworthy and allowed the suspect to enter their homes out of good nature, and the suspect took advantage of that by being deceptive,” detectives wrote in the charging affidavit. “Based on the statements made and evidence on scene, Detective McGuire determined that Gautier intentionally and knowingly surreptitiously and systematically located elderly individuals with the intent of stealing their credit cards.”
It was discovered that immediately following the thefts, Gautier would go to Walmart and load the money onto prepaid cards. She would often make a small food purchase with the stolen credit cards and then load $200 at a time onto gift cards during the same transaction. Detectives moved in on Gautier Wednesday when they learned she was selling her furniture to get ready for a move and discovered several gift cards and Walmart receipts in her purse.
On Wednesday, Gautier was booked into the Volusia County Branch Jail in Daytona Beach on $65,000 bond for the charges associated with one of the Deltona cases. On Thursday, Sheriff’s detectives filed the additional 44 charges that will up Gautier’s total combined bond to $335,000. The new charges include money laundering, obtaining property by fraud, two counts of burglary, two counts of theft from a person 65 years of age or older, three counts of theft, three counts of illegal use of a credit card, and 32 counts of dealing in stolen property.
Anyone who believes they were victimized by Gautier is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at (386) 860-7030.
(Gautier’s mugshot courtesy Volusia County Jail)
Photo courtesy rongyiquan and Shutterstock.com.
Copyright Southern Stone Communications 2016.