Chicago woman pleads guilty to 2017 Rochester credit card thefts

(ABC 6 News) – A Chicago woman pleaded guilty to several counts of theft by swindle related to fraudulent bank withdrawals in Rochester dating back to 2017.

Debra Fennell, 64, was accused of three counts each of theft by swindle and identity theft after using stolen credit cards to withdraw a total of $15,000 from two Rochester Wells Fargo banks and $7,500 from a U.S. Bank in January of 2017, according to court documents.

Fennell was later arrested in Arizona after attempting the same scam, according to court documents.

Fennell’s whereabouts were unknown when she was charged with the thefts in Olmsted County in July of 2017.

According to Minnesota court records, Fennell was located in 2018 and a court date was scheduled, but she failed to appear in Rochester and a warrant for her arrest went out in May of 2018.

According to court documents, she was re-arrested in Arizona, served time in Arizona and Wisconsin on similar charges, and was transferred to Olmsted County to stand trial on the Rochester theft charges in January of this year.

Fennell pleaded guilty to the three theft by swindle charges Wednesday, Feb. 15, and will be sentenced April 10, 2023.

Her plea agreement specified that Fennell will pay restitution and will serve around 30 months in prison.

The remaining three charges were dropped.