Laramie Woman Charged With Stealing Thousands From Man With Dementia For Gambling

A Laramie woman is facing 10 years in prison for allegedly draining an elderly man's bank account and using the money to pay for gambling. She has been charged with one count of felony elderly abuse.

Clair McFarland

March 20, 20244 min read

Laramie Police presence at Riley Gaines 10 24 23

Accused of draining her elderly neighbor’s bank account on gambling and shopping websites, a Laramie woman could face up to 10 years in prison and $10,000 in fines. 

Kelly Bannwarth, who turns 48 this year, is charged with one count of elder abuse. Her case rose to the felony-level Albany County District Court on Tuesday. 

The investigation started Jan. 4, 2024, when Laramie Police Officer Carson Schilt received a report that an elderly man with dementia, identified in court documents as “G.B.,” had been exploited by a neighbor in his apartment complex. 

The man’s landlord alerted a care provider at Quality Home Health that the man could be enduring “possible fraud,” says an evidentiary affidavit filed in the case. 

The provider gathered debit card statements from the man’s bank indicating $5,019.09 in irregular spending from November 2023 through early January 2024, the document says. 

Of that, $3,358 was transferred, allegedly, from the elderly man’s account directly to Bannwarth’s Cash App account. 

Another $1,090 was withdrawn from the man’s account, and sent to online gambling website Chumba Gold Coin, says the affidavit. 

And $1,404.09 reportedly went to, eBay, PayPay, Temu, Google Dingtone, Tracfone and AT&T. 

Just The Basics Though

But throughout the rest of 2023, the man’s money went toward rent and smaller expenses, says the affidavit. That includes $600 per month on rent and withdrawals, and between zero and $400 per month on living expenses.

Schilt went to visit with the man. The officer noticed the man was frail, forgetful and struggled to get through an entire conversation, the affidavit says. 

The older man said Bannwarth had been helping him for a few months. She’d fetch him cash from an ATM, coffee and snacks. 

He said he couldn’t remember giving her permission to use his debit card freely. He never approved her to gamble online and did not think she was taking money from him, the man said, adding that he doesn’t remember things well. 

“(He) was completely unaware that his bank account was now almost completely gone,” wrote Schilt in the affidavit. 

Schilt spoke next with Bannwarth. 

She said her elderly neighbor gave her a Christmas present by letting her use a couple hundred dollars for online gambling at Chumba Gold Coin, the affidavit relates. 

She also reportedly said she had to transfer money from the man’s account to her own starting in December, because his debit card wasn’t working and he couldn’t withdraw cash using it.

So she’d transfer money to herself, then go to the ATM to the the cash, then give that back to the man for him to pay his bills and rent, the document relates. 

Bannwarth said the man gave her permission to buy some things for herself, “as payment for helping him out,” the affidavit says. 

She provided to Schilt screenshots of her own statements, which allegedly displayed expenses at, Chumba Gold Coin, and Temu – the very sites Schilt perceived as “irregular” money destinations on the older man’s account. 

On visiting the man again, Schilt learned the man gave Bannwarth $40 cash and a Christmas card for Christmas. But this time the older man was more certain that he didn’t authorize thousands in spending. 

Also, the man’s rent was paid at the end of December when his bank sent him a new debit card, says the affidavit. 

So Schilt did not believe Bannwarth’s alleged account, that she arranged for him to pay his rent with cash. 


Lastly Schilt listened to a voicemail from the man’s bank account, in which a banker was under the impression that the man and his “daughter” were trying to set up a Cash App account with the man’s account, the affidavit says. 

The man does not have contact with his biological daughter, the officer later wrote. 

“(Bannwarth) posed as G.B.’s daughter for the call,” he added. 

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter