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Rehab center manager pleads to embezzlement, exploitation

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A rehabilitation center manager accused of stealing money from elderly residents pleaded guilty Wednesday to 11 charges.

Leanne Bennett, 60, must pay more than $44,000 in restitution, and she faces up to three years in custody at sentencing, which is set for October. Bennett was indicted in three cases beginning in late 2017 on charges stemming from events from 2013.

Joseph Martinez, a prosecutor with the state Attorney General’s Office, said Wednesday that Bennett had access to one resident’s checkbook, and two residents’ ATM cards, and stole thousands from them. All three residents had dementia.

Martinez said that Bennett also embezzled funds from two companies where she worked, in one case stealing cash, and in the other, writing checks to herself.

She pleaded guilty before state District Judge Charles Brown to charges including exploiting a resident’s property, violating the Remote Financial Service Unit Act and embezzlement.

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