Thursday, August 15, 2013

Lehigh Valley Man Faces Forgery, Theft/Securing Execution Of Documents By Deception, Other Charges For Allegedly Ripping Off His 93-Year Old Uncle Of $200K+ Cash/Other Assets; Suspect Allegedly Abused POA To Drain Bank Accounts, Home Equity With HELOC While Since-Foreclosed Victim Was Confined In Nursing Home

In Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, The Express Times reports:
  • A Pen Argyl man is charged with 17 counts of theft and related crimes for depleting the life savings of his 93-year-old uncle by using power of attorney and converting property and money for his personal use, according to the Lehigh County’s District Attorney’s Office.

    Scott Lee Bartholomew, 52 of the 100 block of Acker Street, is accused of stealing more than $200,000 from his uncle, Wilbur B. Stiles, authorities said. The crimes happened from January 2006 to June 2012, the district attorney’s office said.

    Because he lost his home to foreclosure and his life savings, police said, Stiles is living in a veterans center in the Scranton, Pa., area.

    Bartholomew is being held in Lehigh County Prison in lieu of 10 percent of $200,000 bail.
    An investigation by South Whitehall Township police, with help from the Institute for Protective Services at Temple University, alleged that a minimum of $217,498 had been diverted from Stiles to Bartholomew, authorities said.

    According to an affidavit filed by South Whitehall police Sgt. Michael A. Sorrentino, Sorrentino conducted numerous interviews with agencies and individuals since December 2012 when investigators learned Bartholomew was acting with power of attorney for Stiles.

    Bartholomew did not make the required payments of $6,050 for the care of Stiles from March 2011 to April 2011, while Stiles was a resident of Cedarbrook Nursing Home in South Whitehall, officials said.

    Bartholomew gained control of Stiles’ finances and directed money from Stiles’ accounts to make unauthorized purchases of vehicles, Internet items and gaming purchases, authorities said.

    They allege Bartholomew made cash withdrawals, paid legal fees of an acquaintance, paid tax bills for property not owned by Stiles, and paid for cellphones and cellphone plans not used for Stiles.

    Additionally, police said, Bartholomew used the money on meals and entertainment for himself and others, and operational fees as an owner/operator of a sole proprietorship trucking company. None of it was reimbursed to Stiles’ accounts, police said.

    Investigators allege that Bartholomew converted Stiles’ savings account, insurance policy, retirement income, real estate, motor vehicles, personal property and savings bonds for Bartholomew’s personal use.

    Bartholomew also obtained a home equity line of credit and converted about $133,526 for his personal use, according to police. They also said almost $89,973 was taken from Stiles’ checking account.

    Bartholomew is alleged to have used the equity in Stiles’ residence for his personal gain. The property ultimately was placed into foreclosure, authorities said.

    Bartholomew was charged with four counts of theft by unlawful taking, three counts of theft by deception, five counts of receiving stolen property, one count of theft by failure of to make required disposition of funds and one count of access device fraud -- all third-degree felonies.

    He is also charged with one count of forgery and two counts of securing execution of documents by deception, police said.

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