Attorney Convicted at Trial of Defrauding Elderly Woman
PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney William M. McSwain announced that John Kelvin Conner, 62, was convicted today by a jury of 19 counts of wire fraud and one count of making a false statement to federal agents. The defendant, an attorney, devised and participated in a scheme to defraud an elderly woman out of more than $95,000 so that he could gamble with her money at casinos.
In July 2016, the 85-years old victim signed a Power of Attorney (“POA”) agreement with the defendant that granted him authority to manage the victim’s finances and pay her bills. At the time, the victim lived at home, but required the assistance of multiple caregivers, and her only source of income was a monthly pension. The defendant used the POA agreement to liquidate a life annuity policy that the victim owned, deposit the proceeds into one of her bank accounts, and siphon nearly all of that money for his personal use at casinos.
From August 16, 2016 until April 22, 2017, the defendant used an ATM card to make at least 176 unauthorized withdrawals totaling at least $95,688 from the victim’s bank account at Pennsylvania and New Jersey casinos. During this time, the defendant neglected to pay the victim’s bills, which led to the victim temporarily losing basic utilities like heat, hot water, electricity, and telephone services. Additionally, many checks paid to the home caregivers were returned because of insufficient balances in the victim’s checking account. When questioned by FBI agents about the ATM withdrawals, the defendant falsely told the agents that the victim had authorized him to use her money to gamble at casinos.
“The defendant’s conduct in this case was egregious,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “Stealing an elderly woman’s life-savings, gambling it away at casinos, and then lying about it to federal agents by pretending that he had permission to throw away the victim’s savings so that she couldn’t even afford her necessities – it is hard to fathom that an individual would choose to commit these crimes. We are grateful that the jury saw through the defendant’s lies and held him accountable.”
“For anyone with elderly loved ones, this is the nightmare scenario,” said Michael T. Harpster, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “John Conner’s victim was utterly vulnerable, and he took full advantage – robbing her blind to hit the casinos, frittering away her money as her own bills went unpaid. It’s unconscionable. The FBI will never stop working to protect the public from criminals like this, and we’re gratified to see him brought to justice.”
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mark Dubnoff.