AUBURN, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — A woman from Lewiston was sentenced Thursday to serve five years in prison for stealing thousands of dollars from a dozen victims — many of them elderly.

Tanya Boutelle pleaded guilty to three charges and was ordered to repay $144,000 to the victims and the state.

Boutelle apologized through her attorney, saying she used the money to pay for her drug addiction.

It was investigators with the Department of Health and Human Services who uncovered the thefts while investigating her for welfare fraud.

She pleaded guilty to defrauding the victims out of more than $10,000. Investigators said the total amount was close to $150,000.

She would establish relationships with the victims, borrow money and never pay it back. She would tell them she was getting settlement money and would pay more than she borrowed, but there were no settlements.

One of the victims was Boutelle’s former teacher, who was taken for more than $40,000.

“I led a sheltered and protected life," Mona Guertin told the judge. "I take pride in being honest, forthright and a caring person. All that was totally disrespected by Tonya."

Another victim said Boutelle befriended his daughter.

“You took advantage of good people, with good nature, with good intentions and destroyed them financially," said James Dugan during his victim impact statement. "You, Tanya Boutelle, are a predator."

The prosecutor said most of the other victims, who did not appear in court, were satisfied with the outcome of the case, but at least two others wanted Boutelle to get more time in prison.

State officials said Boutelle also received more than $3,000 in food stamps that she was not entitled to.