A St. Catharines, Ont. woman who bilked a senior out of a substantial amount of money has pleaded guilty to fraud over $5,000.
Michelle Meade, 39, entered the surprise plea Thursday during a preliminary hearing at the Norfolk County courthouse. She will return for a pre-sentence report Dec. 17.
Meade was charged after she insinuated herself into the life of Jean Beausaert, 78, in 2007.
Assistant Crown attorney Larry Brock presented his case to Justice Martha Zivolak Friday morning. Brock says Meade persuaded Beausaert to extend her several large loans on false pretenses.
Along the way, Beausaert re-mortgaged her home several times and maxed out several credit cards. The amount is in dispute, but Beausaert’s family and the Crown say Meade defrauded Beausaert of at least $100,000 between 2007 and 2011.
Beausaert got to know Meade after she began dating her grandson.
At a birthday party in Walsingham, a community within Norfolk County, Ont., in July 2007, Meade announced she had brain cancer and only had six months to live.
Meade persuaded Beausaert – who she began to call “Grandma” – to lend her money with the false claim that she had a $1 million settlement pending from an abuse allegation involving the Children’s Aid Society.
This is not the first time Meade has been convicted of fraud. Nor is it the first time Meade has used the claim of terminal cancer as a ruse to extract money from others.
Meade has a prior conviction for fraud under $5,000 dating back to 1999 and a conviction for fraud over $5,000 dating to 2008, the court heard Friday. The person she defrauded five years ago was also told Meade had cancer.
Meade received probation on both occasions.