Pennsylvania Guardian Indicted for Stealing from Elderly Wards

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Sep 14, 2021 | 0 Comments

When the elderly become unable to care for themselves or their finances, the court may often appoint a guardian to act in their best interests. As a court-appointed fiduciary, a guardian has a legal and moral obligation to act in their clients' best interests. When a fiduciary fails to do so, they can end up in jail if they steal from a client. Three guardians from Pennsylvania and Virginia recently discovered the pitfalls of allegations of fraud and theft from their elderly wards.

Allegations of Stealing from Wards

According to the indictment, the three guardians allegedly stole from dozens of their incapacitated wards from 2012 to 2018. Following an investigation by the FBI and the Delaware County, Pennsylvania's District Attorney's Office, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania announced the three guardians would face charges in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Each of the defendants faces federal charges, including one count of bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Additionally, two defendants face five counts of wire fraud, and one defendant faces an additional money laundering charge.

Wire Fraud

Wire fraud involves devising “or intending to devise” a scheme to defraud money or property through false pretenses by transmitting “through any wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce.” 18 U.S.C. § 1343 (2008). For wire fraud, the defendants face a maximum of 20 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.

Bank Fraud

Under federal law, bank fraud involves knowingly executing or attempting to execute a scheme to defraud a financial institution or obtain money, assets, or securities controlled by a financial institution through false pretenses or representations. See 18 U.S.C. § 1344 (1990). For conspiracy to commit bank fraud and bank fraud, each defendant faces a maximum of 30 years in jail and a $1 million fine.

Money Laundering

Money laundering isn't all washing the proceeds of drug money ala “Breaking Bad.” Instead, anyone who conducts a financial transaction or attempts to conduct one with money that they know comes from illegal activity in order to hide the origin of the money or avoid reporting requirements under federal or state law may be guilty of money laundering. See 18 U.S.C. § 1956(a) (2016). While the federal money laundering statute is extensive, it boils down to using money obtained through illegal activity and trying to “wash it clean” by using it for legitimate financial transactions. For money laundering, the defendant in this case faces up to 20 years in prison and up to a $500,000 fine.

You Need an Experienced Pennsylvania Criminal Attorney

If you're facing criminal fraud or money laundering charges in Pennsylvania or federal court, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Attorney Joseph D. Lento can help. Call the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 or contact them online to set up your consultation today.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania as well as in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the Lento Law Firm today! Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

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