Diane Durbon and Brittany Lukasik, a mother-daughter duo, pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining funds from a 92-year-old victim, whom they were hired to care for. They accessed the victim’s investment accounts using a script and video surveillance, depositing over $542,000 into their own accounts and making purchases. They face up to 20 years in prison for wire fraud conspiracy and forfeited assets worth over $542,000.
Diane Durbon and her daughter, Brittany Lukasik, recently pleaded guilty to charges of fraudulently obtaining funds from a 92-year-old victim, referred to as T.H. According to the United States Attorney’s Office, Durbon and Lukasik were hired in 2016 to be caretakers for T.H. However, in October 2017, Durbon began unlawfully accessing T.H.’s investment accounts after installing cameras in the victim’s home.
Durbon gained access to the investment accounts by placing T.H. on the phone to answer various account security questions while she held a script containing the answers in front of the victim. Video surveillance cameras in T.H.’s home captured the entire operation. Between January 2019 and March 2020, approximately $542,760.23 in fraudulently obtained funds were deposited into Lukasik’s accounts, which she and Durbon used to pay off debt and make purchases. Those purchases included paying for a 2018 Nissan Rogue, paying off a car loan, paying student loan debt, and credit card payments. Lukasik and Durbon also used the funds to purchase a duplex in Cape Coral and remodel it.
After being given the authorization to speak to the investment account representative on T.H.’s behalf, Durbon moved funds from T.H.’s investment accounts into a checking account. She then issued checks to Lukasik, ranging in amounts from $1,000 to $9,600, which were deposited into bank accounts that Lukasik controlled and maintained. Between November 2017 and July 2019, approximately $231,659 in checks were issued to Lukasik from T.H.’s account.
Durbon also cashed out T.H.’s annuity policy in November 2018 and transferred the funds via 92 checks to Lukasik. The total amount of these checks equaled $372,092.98. Lukasik failed to report any of these funds in her 2019 tax return.
As a result, both Durbon and Lukasik face a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Lukasik also faces a maximum penalty of 3 years in prison for filing a false tax return. In addition, the duo forfeited a 2016 Nissan Rogue, 2020 Kia Sorento, property in Cape Coral, and approximately $542,760.23, which were all traceable to the proceeds of the offenses.
The case was investigated by the United States Secret Service, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, and the IRS – Criminal Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Trent Reichling. The plea agreement reveals the details of how Durbon and Lukasik took advantage of their positions as caretakers and exploited an elderly victim, resulting in serious legal consequences.