Crime

She was late to her own trial. Now accused ‘sweetheart swindler’ headed back to jail

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.

A woman on trial over accusations that she conned a combined $1.6 million out of six elderly people over a six-year period was back in the county’s custody after she showed up late to her trial Thursday morning.

Desiree Boltos, 37, said she had been at the hospital after having a panic attack. Her GPS monitor confirmed she’d been at a Fort Worth hospital Thursday morning.

In a phone conversation with a bailiff, Boltos also said that she wished to fire her defense attorney, Joetta Keene, prompting a meeting between Keene, Boltos and State District Judge Robb Catalano in the judge’s chambers.

When they emerged, the trial continued.

But later, on a break in the trial and outside of the jury’s presence, Boltos was led to a holding cell to spend the rest of the break. Court records show Catalano had signed an order finding her bond insufficient and ordering her held with no bond.

Boltos is charged with five theft counts and one count of exploitation of an elderly person. If convicted, she faces up to life in prison.

Prosecutors Lori Varnell and Ty Stimpson allege Boltos teamed up with her common-law husband, Paul Hill, to scam five men and one woman — a con commonly referred to as a “sweetheart swindler.” In all, prosecutors allege Boltos netted $1.6 million in money and vehicles.

Defense attorney Joetta Keene has asked jurors not to judge the relationships that Boltos had with others, reminding them “it’s a free country” and that even elderly people can date whom they want and spend their money how they please.

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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