Charged With Alleged Exploitation Of Disabled Victims

A Granite City woman was charged with the unlawful financial exploitation of 22 identified disabled victims.

Andrea R. Schultz (d.o.b. 12/31/82) was charged with 44 counts of Unlawful Financial Exploitation of a Disabled Person and Theft of Property by Deception. Shultz worked as a caregiver for William M. BeDell Achievement and Resource Center (ARC) which serves children and adults in Madison County with developmental disabilities. The defendant was in charge of managing the funds for the victims.

The charges span from January 1, 2018 through October 24, 2019 with a total amount of $14,948.91 taken from the victims. According to Illinois statute, unlawful financial exploitation of a disabled person refers to any person who suffers from a mental or physical impairment that impairs the individual’s ability to independently manage his or her property, financial resources, or both. The crime is committed when a person who stands in a position of trust or confidence with a disabled person knowingly deceives him or her to obtain control over his or her property, financial resources, or both. Exploitation amounts over $300 are charged as Class 3 felonies. Amounts of $300 or less are charged as Class 4 felonies.

State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons thanked the individuals who came forward to provide important evidence and information, and noted that the considerable cooperation of the employees and administration at William M. BeDell ARC allowed the case to move forward to charging in as quick of a timeline as possible. Gibbons stated, “Crimes against vulnerable individuals are some of the most infuriating for all of us, especially when the allegations are against someone who had a special responsibility to protect the victims. Caregivers are placed in a critical position of trust and confidence and have the utmost legal and moral responsibility to protect the people they serve. The allegation in these charges indicates a complete betrayal of that trust and responsibility. It is our solemn goal to seek swift and sure justice for the victims, under the law.”

Schultz’ bail has been set at $150,000 by Associate Judge Janet Heflin. If convicted the maximum penalty for a Class 3 felony is up to five (5) years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. The maximum penalty for a Class 4 felony is up to three (3) years in the Department of Corrections as well as fines, restitution and court assessments.

This charge, as well as the statements made herein, are based upon probable cause. The defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

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