Saturday, October 17, 2015

Nephew Convicted Of Abusing POA To Fleece Now-95-Year Old Uncle Out Of $350K In Life Savings; Defendant's Actions Caused Victim's Home To Be Lost To Foreclosure, Forcing Him Into Veterans Home, Then Stiffing Facility Out Of Care Costs Despite Having Available Cash

In Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, reports:
  • A Lehigh County judge revoked bail Thursday moments after a jury convicted a Pen Argyl man of stealing his elderly uncle's life savings.

    Scott Lee Bartholomew, 54, of the 100 block of Acker Street in Pen Argyl, was taken to Lehigh County Jail following his trial.

    The jury deliberated a little more than an hour before finding Bartholomew guilty of theft and related crimes, according to the Lehigh County District Attorney's Office.

    His 95-year-old uncle, Wilbur B. Stiles, is a World War II Air Force veteran who worked as a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Department of the Interior.

    He formerly lived in Allentown and at Cedarbrook Nursing Home in South Whitehall Township but now lives in a veterans center in the Scranton area, prosecutors said.

    Bartholomew used power of attorney to steal from Stiles and converted about $351,000 for his own use, prosecutors said.

    The trial began Monday. After Thursday's verdict, Judge Robert L. Steinberg revoked bail for Bartholomew, who had been free on bail. Sentencing was set for Dec. 2.

    Bartholomew was convicted of theft by unlawful taking, theft by deception, theft by failure to make required disposition of funds, receiving stolen property and dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities.

    The crimes happened from January 2006 to June 2012, the district attorney's office previously said. Bartholomew was removed as power of attorney in February 2012.

    Chief Deputy District Attorney Charles F. Gallagher told jurors that Stiles had accumulated substantial savings during his lifetime and had owned a home in Allentown, the district attorney's office said.

    After Bartholomew was appointed as power of attorney in 2003, Stiles' savings dwindled, his home went into foreclosure and Stiles was placed in a nursing facility, prosecutors said. Bartholomew was charged in August 2012.

    He used Stiles' money for his own benefit and didn't pay for Stiles' care at a veterans home even though money was available for that, the district attorney's office said.

    The investigation was led by Sgt. Michael Sorrentino of the South Whitehall Township Police Department, who is a member of the district attorney's Elder Abuse Task Force. The Institute for Protective Services assisted the investigation.