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IA woman to serve 7 years for scamming $192,000 from dead Navy SEAL fiancé and mother

Courtroom and gavel. (Joe Gratz/Flickr)
December 22, 2018

A woman in Iowa has been sentenced to prison for stealing from her deceased fiancé – a Navy SEAL, and his mother.

Robin Ann Bertelli, a 61-year-old woman from Cedar Rapids, will serve a seven-year prison term for the theft of $192,000 from her fiancé and his mother, according to a Department of Justice statement on Wednesday.

“She was ordered to make $192,500 in restitution to her victims.  She must also serve a five-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system,” the statement noted.

Bertelli pled guilty on May 17 for stealing checks from her fiancé, former Navy SEAL Ken Martin Jr., and his mother. She reportedly used the stolen money for personal purchases, including a luxury car.

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Between July 2013 and September 2016, she stole 63 blank checks from Martin and his mother and forged their signatures, then depositing amounts into her own account, according to a statement from the DOJ in May.

Bertelli deposited three of the forged checks from Martin’s account after his Feb. 2016 death. Her fraudulent activities were later discovered by Martin’s family members.

She had lived with Martin and his mother since 2013. Martin’s mother was in poor health and not able to retrieve her mail from the mailbox, which allowed Bertelli an opportunity to retrieve and steal the mail, including bank statements.

At the time of her guilty plea, the DOJ said Bertelli faced “a mandatory minimum sentence of 2 years’ imprisonment and a possible maximum sentence of 32 years’ imprisonment, a $1,250,000, and 5 years of supervised release following any imprisonment.”

Martin died in an accident while he and Bertelli were on vacation in Puerto Rico.

“On that trip, the former Navy SEAL unexpectedly died in Puerto Rico.  Bertelli reported to others that the former Navy SEAL went swimming, hit his head on a rock, and accidentally drowned,” the DOJ statement explained.

Sentencing took place on Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids with Judge Linda R. Reade.

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Bertelli was deemed “extremely high risk to recidivate” and had a record of theft convictions – including six-figure embezzlement – that didn’t result in jail time. Additionally, she had two DUI convictions, and violations of court orders for alcohol use.

“Judge Reade characterized Bertelli as an ‘opportunist’ whose acts were ‘shameful,’” the statement said.  “Judge Reade found that, if not confined or under court-ordered supervision, Bertelli ‘will steal again.’”

Bertelli’s charges stemmed from both the DOJ’s Elder Abuse Initiative and the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.