An Anchorage school teacher has been charged with fraud and identity theft after she allegedly swindled thousands of dollars from an elderly woman, authorities say.


Susanna Difranco, 52, was charged with three counts of fraud and one count of identity theft, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Alaska said in a Thursday release.


An indictment alleges that from March to April Difranco — who personally knew the woman — wrote checks and made transfers and withdrawals from the 77-year-old’s bank account “for Difranco’s personal benefit for a total of over $70,000,” the release says.


With the money, Difranco paid her credit card bill and her daughter’s college tuition, prosecutors say.


The elderly woman did not know Difranco had gained access to her bank account and was taking her money, prosecutors say. Difranco is also accused of falsely telling bank officials she was helping to protect the woman’s money by moving it into a safety deposit box, “when in fact she was stealing [the victim’s] money and spending it for her personal benefit,” the release says.


The United States Postal Inspection Service, the Anchorage Police Department and the Alaska Office of Elder Fraud and Assistance conducted the investigation leading to the indictment.


Difranco is employed at Sand Lake Elementary, said Anchorage School District spokesperson Heidi Embley.