Robert Baker Pleads Guilty To Bennington Estate Embezzlement
The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont announced that Robert Baker, 43, of Bennington, pleaded guilty today in United States District Court in Brattleboro to a charge of wire fraud. District Judge J. Garvan Murtha released Baker on conditions pending sentencing, which is set for September 7.
On April 12, 2013, the United States Attorney filed a criminal information against Baker. According to the information, Bennington resident Nada Ledinko died in July 2011. After her death, the Bennington Superior Court, Probate Division, appointed Baker as special administrator of Ledinko’s estate. The special administrator’s duties included collecting and maintaining the estate until an administrator or executor was appointed.
The information charges that between September 2011 and January 2012, Baker misappropriated about $171,000 from the Ledinko estate. Among other things, Baker stole the proceeds of two checks, totalling more than $141,000, that were paid over to him as special administrator by a wealth management company. Baker electronically transferred $81,628 of those stolen funds to a personal brokerage account he had in New York. Baker also wrote four checks against the estate bank account, for $30,000, then misused the funds for personal or business purposes.
As part of his plea agreement, Baker agreed to liquidate his personal brokerage account and turn all of the proceeds over to the administrator who has been appointed for the estate.
Baker faces up to 20 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000. The actual sentence will be determined with reference to federal sentencing guidelines.
This case was investigated by the Burlington Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Baker is represented by David Silver. The prosecutor is Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Waples.