Sweetheart Swinder not paying victim | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Sweetheart Swinder not paying victim

Margaret “Venus” Loeo, dubbed the “Sweetheart Swindler” by police investigators, is not paying her bills.

Loeo was convicted of bilking 83-year-old Stateline resident Anthony Brusca out of $250,000. Her prison sentence of one to six years was suspended, and she was placed on five years probation. After serving a short time in the Douglas County Jail, Loeo was released in December and ordered to pay Brusca $500 a month. After one check for $60, shortly after her release, Brusca said the money dried up.

“It’s not so much for me that I want the money. It is for my niece’s children,” Brusca explained. “They are without a father, and I was planning on sending those kids to school.”

Over a period of 2 1/2 years Loeo – along with her former husband, Steve Yonko and his mother, Diane – took money from Brusca, under the guise that it was needed for life-saving operations.

Loeo’s breach of probation might be the furthest thing from her mind. Two months after her release in Nevada, Loeo and her mother, Anna Loeo, were arrested in the Los Angeles area on a Sacramento County warrant. The charges were familiar. This time the victim was 84-year-old Charles Hunt.

While Loeo has failed to pay back Brusca’s money, she did find $200,000 to post bail in Sacramento County. Anna posted $50,000 in bail. A jury trial on that case is set for July 14.

Brusca said Diane and Steve Yonko have paid their monthly restitution of $1,000 without fail. The Yonkos turned themselves in, handed over $110,000 in cash, plead guilty to misdemeanor charges, and agreed to pay $25,000 more within two years. Their jail sentence was deferred for the two-year period to allow them to make restitution.

Even with Loeo’s failure to pay, Brusca said he doesn’t see any point in her going to prison.

“In this world everybody’s got to have a second chance. I would like to see her spend a short time in jail, and then get out and help people, possibly start to pay back me and Mr. Hunt.”

Brusca said even though he doesn’t believe he will ever see the more than $90,000 that Loeo owes him, he is doing well.

“I still have enough to live on. It could be a lot worse,” he said.

Investigators said Hunt’s relationship with the Loeo’s depleted him of $40,000, and left the senior bankrupt with barely enough to live on.

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