• Woman accused of stealing 94-year-old woman's home gets plea deal to stay out of prison

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    ORLANDO, Fla. - A woman accused of stealing a home from a 94-year-old woman was who living in a nursing home has accepted a plea deal that will keep her out of prison.

    Vivian Smith’s friends came to Channel 9 after a neighbor saw Vanessa Russell removing all of Smith’s belongings from the house she owned for decades in 2014.

    Russell had forged a deed and moved into the home, but police weren’t able to immediately get her out.

    A search warrant was served weeks later, and authorities removed Russell and her family from Smith’s home.

    Russell recently accepted a plea deal with prosecutors. She was sentenced to 18 months in prison, but won’t serve the time if she follows the terms of her 10-year probation and pays Smith back.

    Smith is still in a nursing home in failing health and won’t be moving home.

    The deed has been transferred and Russell will have to pay Smith $100 a month over a period of 10 years, totaling $12,000 in restitution.

    Smith’s friends said they had hoped Russell would get jail time, but said everyone, including Smith, is glad that the ordeal is over.

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