In a shocking case of financial exploitation, a former attorney from Belmont County has been sentenced to five years in prison for stealing over $800,000 from an elderly woman suffering from dementia. Mark Alan Thomas, who had acted as the victim’s Power of Attorney, abused his position of trust to deceive banks, life insurance companies, and others into transferring the victim’s money into his own accounts. Thomas’s actions, which spanned over seven years, were brought to light when a family member obtained a separate Power of Attorney for the victim. He was indicted in September 2021 and pleaded guilty in August 2022. As part of his sentence, Thomas is also required to pay restitution in the amount of $882,502. This grave abuse of power over a vulnerable victim has, rightfully, resulted in a serious punishment, as stated by U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker.
Former Belmont County attorney sentenced to 5 years in prison for stealing from elderly victim with dementia
The case of a former Belmont County attorney who was sentenced to five years in prison for stealing over $800,000 from an elderly victim with dementia has brought attention to the issue of elder abuse and the misuse of power of attorney. This comprehensive article will delve into the background of the case, the crime and sentencing, the abuse of power, the concept of power of attorney, the revocation of power of attorney, the misuse of the victim’s money, the cashing of the victim’s U.S. Treasury bonds, the false representation of the victim, as well as the investigation and prosecution of the case.
The case involves Mark Alan Thomas, a former Belmont County attorney, who was convicted of stealing more than $800,000 from an elderly woman with dementia. Thomas took advantage of his position as her power of attorney to exploit the victim and enrich himself. The victim, an 86-year-old woman, was living in a senior-care facility and trusted Thomas to act in her best interests.
Crime and Sentencing
Thomas was convicted of mail fraud related to his scheme to steal money from the elderly victim. He was sentenced to 5 years in prison for his crimes. In addition to the prison sentence, Thomas was ordered to pay restitution of over $800,000.
Abuse of Power
The case highlights a grave abuse of power by Thomas. He exploited a vulnerable victim who was suffering from dementia, taking advantage of her condition to steal her money. The victim trusted Thomas, and he betrayed that trust in a truly shameful manner.
Power of Attorney
Power of attorney is a legal document that grants an individual the authority to act on behalf of another person in financial and legal matters. In this case, the victim had granted Thomas power of attorney, giving him significant control over her financial affairs.
Revocation of Power of Attorney
In a surprising turn of events, a family member of the victim obtained a separate power of attorney for her, seeking to protect her interests. Thomas drafted a revocation of the family member’s power of attorney and had the victim sign it. Thomas, acting as the notary, verified the victim’s signature, effectively invalidating the family member’s authority.
Misuse of Victim’s Money
Thomas misused the power of attorney granted to him by the victim to manipulate various entities, including banks and insurance companies. He deceived these institutions, ultimately transferring the victim’s money to himself for personal benefit. His actions represent a clear breach of professional ethics and a violation of the trust placed in him.
Cashing the Victim’s U.S. Treasury Bonds
One of the most significant instances of Thomas’s misconduct was his unauthorized cashing of the victim’s U.S. Treasury bonds. In January 2014, Thomas cashed over $290,000 of the victim’s bonds, using the proceeds for his own benefit. He transferred $200,000 into his law firm’s bank account and eventually moved the funds into his personal account.
Falsely Representing the Victim
Thomas went to extreme lengths to deceive others and falsely represent the victim. He impersonated her, writing letters to life insurance companies, requesting cash-outs of her policies, and redirecting all correspondence to himself. These actions allowed him to further manipulate the victim’s finances for personal gain.
Indictment and Guilty Plea
Thomas was indicted by a federal grand jury in September 2021. In August 2022, he pleaded guilty to the charges against him. This guilty plea served as an admission of his crimes and allowed for the case to move forward with the sentencing phase.
Investigation and Prosecution
Federal agencies, including the FBI and the Ohio Attorney General’s Health Care Fraud Unit, were involved in the investigation of the case. The U.S. Attorney’s Office played a crucial role in the prosecution, ultimately leading to Thomas’s conviction and sentencing. The case highlights the ongoing efforts to combat elder fraud and protect vulnerable individuals from exploitation.
In conclusion, the case of the former Belmont County attorney who stole over $800,000 from an elderly victim with dementia sheds light on the devastating consequences of abuse of power and financial exploitation. The conviction and sentencing of the attorney reflect the seriousness of these crimes and the commitment of law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to seeking justice for vulnerable individuals. It also serves as a reminder of the legal obligations and responsibilities associated with power of attorney and the importance of safeguarding the rights and well-being of the elderly population.