WATERLOO — Terry Roeder said she loaned her new friend tens of thousands of dollars over the course of several months in 2017 and 2018 because she felt sorry for her — and because she was promised, over and over, she’d be repaid.

Shawn Marie Eastman Adams even showed Roeder a document showing Adams would come into $3.2 million once her divorce was finalized, Roeder testified in Adams’ trial Thursday.

“I believed with all my heart that she would pay me back — and she kept saying that,” Roeder, who owns Calico Hen House in Waterloo, said. “Shawn was very adamant that this is always just a loan, and (said), ‘I will pay you back every penny.’”

Adams, 47, of Waterloo is charged with one count of first-degree theft for allegedly bilking Roeder and her husband, Dave, out of nearly $40,000. When the scheme unraveled, Adams filed a false report with police saying Dave Roeder sexually molested a teenage boy in Adams’ care.

Roeder and her husband kept track of every penny in a shared notebook with Adams — every cash payment for her medications or gas money or school fees for her stepson, and every check paid to her landlords for rent on her home and her business as well as her utility payments. They also got Adams to sign two notarized promissory notes — one for $19,181, and another for $20,000, totaling $39,181 by April of 2018.

But Adams kept stringing them along with sob story after sob story asking for more and more money, Roeder testified.

“She said the cancer was getting worse and she would possibly have to have her hand amputated up to her elbow, which was devastating,” Roeder said.

UPDATE: Woman arrested for fake cancer fraud says she's innocent

Once, when Roeder went with Adams to a supposed doctor’s appointment, they sat in a waiting room for hours without Adams’ name being called. Another time, Adams asked for $500 for a medication for her “wrist cancer,” and a day later said the medicine wasn’t working and asked Roeder for more money for a more expensive medication.

“So I gave her the money. What was I supposed to do?” Roeder testified. “She always said, ‘I will pay you back.’”

Defense attorney Heather Jackson argued there were obvious red flags.

“Within four or five days of knowing a person, you gave her $1,000?” Jackson asked.

“I did,” Roeder said. “I guess that’s just my personality — I want to help people.”

The last straw was when Adams said she was going to get a kidney transplant and returned home the day after the supposed procedure, claiming the hospital helicopter brought her home. When Roeder went to see her at home, she refused to show her the kidney scar. Adams’ daughter later texted a photo of a kidney scar to Roeder.

That photo, testified Waterloo Police Office Kyle Jurgensen, was one of the first photos that pops up in a Google search of kidney scars.

Trial testimony: Waterloo woman wanted transplant scar drawn as part of ruse

Jurgensen also testified Adams claimed in a video interview shown to the jury Thursday she had never seen that $3.2 million doctored bank statement — but then accidentally showed Jurgensen a photo of the document on her phone.

Adams also told Jurgensen she never took money from the Roeders, but admitted in the video interview she accepted money from them for rent, medications and other things.

“I think she was confused between physical money in her hand and paying rent and other stuff,” Jurgensen said. “It was clear Shawn was receiving money from the defendants.”

Adams’ trial continues Friday.

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Staff Writer

Staff writer at The Courier 2005 (college intern), 2007-2012, 2015-present. Graduate of UNI 2006. Three-time Iowa APME award winner (investigative reporting 2008, lifestyle feature 2016, business feature 2018)

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