Thursday, July 06, 2017

Son Faces Charges For Allegedly Abusing POA To Fleece Dementia-Stricken Father Out Of Over $170K; Loot Included $146K Sale Proceeds Of Victim's Vacated Home; Police Probe Triggered When Defendant Stiffed Assisted Living Facility Out Of Payments For Ailing Dad's Care

In South Strabane, Pennsylvania, the Observer-Reporter reports:
  • A Florida man was arraigned Thursday [June 29] on theft-related charges for allegedly stealing more than $170,000 that was to be used to care for his elderly father.

    Richard J. Nixon, 48, of Wildwood, was arraigned before District Judge Jay Weller on charges of theft, theft by failure to make required disposition of funds, having knowledge that the property was the proceeds of an illegal act and bad checks filed by South Strabane Township police.

    Detective Michael Schidlmeier said police were notified in February by an administrator with Hawthorne Woods [assisted living facility] the finances of the elderly man had been liquidated and payments for care were delinquent. Nixon had been given power of attorney in June 2014, for his father, who has dementia.

    Nixon’s father had been admitted to Hawthorne Woods in January 2016. The account manager verified the father’s monthly income from Social Security and his pension. The elderly man also had money in a bank account and in a certificate of deposit and a home in Chartiers Township Schidlmeier learned had been sold in March 2016 for $146,000. The money from the sale had been deposited in a joint account held by Nixon and his father. Nixon opened a personal account and reportedly transferred the money to that account.

    The account manager told Schidlmeier Nixon stopped making payments for his father in September. In an emailed response, Nixon reportedly told the account manager he “messed up. Dad’s money is gone. I made a bad investment in the market and lost it all.” Nixon also reportedly sent a personal check to Hawthorne Woods in December for $12,600, but it was returned for insufficient funds.

    Bank records obtained by police show Nixon’s account had no other income other than deposits and transfers from the joint account. The bank statement indicates Nixon was using his father’s money for day-to-day expenses, mortgage payments for a house in Florida and vacations. Schidlmeier is asking the court for $172,814 in restitution.

    Nixon remains free on unsecured $25,000 bond pending his preliminary hearing at 11:30 a.m. Aug. 14.