Monday, March 28, 2016

Nephew Hit w/ Felony Charges For Allegedly Pilfering Nearly $640K From His 83-Year Old, Widowed, Dementia-Stricken Aunt; Use Of POA To Obtain $1.1 Million Reverse Mortgage On Victim's Home Among Alleged Bad Acts

In Salisbury Township, Pennsylvania, The Morning Call reports:
  • When Bernard J. Daday II became his 83-year-old aunt's power of attorney agent in 2004, he promised to take care of Helen Sipes' finances and protect the money she'd saved during her 50-year marriage to Dr. Earl K. Sipes, chief of surgery at Sacred Heart Hospital.

    "To the contrary," Lehigh County Detective Ralph D. Romano wrote in an affidavit of probable cause, "Bernard John Daday plundered the estate of Helen Daday Sipes in the final years of her life."

    Daday, 57, of West Allen Street in Allentown, is accused of stealing nearly $640,000 from his aunt and her estate. He's charged with numerous felonies, including theft by deception, receiving stolen property, theft by unlawful taking or disposition, and dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities.
    According to Romano's affidavit:

    Helen Sipes was a registered nurse who worked side-by-side with her husband until their joint retirement in 1995. The couple did not have any children, and she was the sole beneficiary of her husband's estate, which was worth $1.8 million at the time of his death in 1998.

    Helen Sipes suffered from dementia, court records say, and Daday was in charge of paying her household and health care bills.

    In 2011, family members became concerned about how Daday was handling Sipes' finances, the affidavit states. Her health was declining and the 16-room Salisbury Township home she'd shared with her husband was in disrepair, according to the filing.

    Upon learning that Sipes' taxes had not been filed or paid since 2007, her great-niece, Allentown attorney Abigail Gross, filed a motion to take over power of attorney duties, the affidavit says. In March 2012, Lehigh County Judge Edward Reibman granted the motion.

    Gross "was able to determine that the financial affairs of Mrs. Sipes were in complete disarray," the affidavit states. "Her residence was in need of drastic repair due to a lack of maintenance; there was no heating oil in the house since bills were not paid; her checking account was overdrawn … payments to her medical and personal caregivers were well overdue."

    Court records say Sipes owed more than $90,000 in debts that had accrued since Daday became her power of attorney agent.

    Prosecutors say he wrote dozens of checks to himself and to his business, Integrated Facilities Corporation Systems in Schnecksville, as well as Kutztown University, where his daughter was enrolled.

    Investigators also allegedly discovered that Daday had taken out a $1.1 million reverse mortgage on Sipes' house, depreciating the home's worth by more than $600,000.

    From June 2004 until Sipes' death in September 2012, Daday allegedly "through various bank transactions, intentionally stole at least $639,220.76 from the assets of Helen Daday Sipes and he has never repaid anything to Mrs. Sipes or the estate," court records state.

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