Crime

This alleged ‘Sweetheart Swindler’ is accused of stealing $1.6 million

Desiree Boltos ‘Sweetheart Swindler’ trial

Prosecutor Lori Varnell makes her opening statement in the Desiree Boltos "Sweetheart Swindler" trial. Boltos is accused of scamming six elderly people out of $1.6 million.
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Prosecutor Lori Varnell makes her opening statement in the Desiree Boltos "Sweetheart Swindler" trial. Boltos is accused of scamming six elderly people out of $1.6 million.

Testimony began Tuesday in the case of a Texas woman accused of scamming six elderly people out of a combined $1.6 million in money and property.

Desiree Boltos is accused of using a myriad of ruses, including that she had cancer, to steal money and vehicles from five men and one woman — a con commonly referred to as a “sweetheart swindler.”

She is charged with five theft counts and one count of exploitation of an elderly person.

“These vulnerable people trusted her, loved her, married her in some cases and believed her in every case,” prosecutor Lori Varnell told jurors Tuesday in opening statements. “So much so you couldn’t convince them, even if you tried, that she was lying. That’s how good she is.”

Prosecutors say Boltos married one of the victims, Danny Barnett, even though she was already married through common law to another man. Barnett later died penniless, a family friend testified.

Defense attorney Joetta Keene told jurors that while they may not agree with the relationships Boltos engaged in, no crimes were committed. She pointed out it was not the alleged victims who filed complaints, but a family friend not happy with one of Boltos’ relationships.

“Dating is different than normal life,” Keene told jurors. “This is not a case of a financial adviser who says, “Give me your money, and I’ll make it back.’ This is dating.”

If convicted, Boltos faces a maximum of life in prison.

Deanna Boyd: 817-390-7655, @deannaboyd

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