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PHILADELPHIA - Randolph Scott, 72, of Doylestown, PA, an attorney whose practice included estate and probate matters, was sentenced today to 48 months in prison for defrauding a client’s estate of more than $2.3 million. Scott maintained a law office – Randolph Scott Associates – in Warrington, PA. He pleaded guilty on March 25, 2015 to one count each of mail fraud, tax evasion and attempting to interfere with administration of internal revenue laws, and three counts of failure to file income tax returns.
Between December 2005 and October 2011, while representing the estate of John C. Bready, Scott diverted approximately $2,317,917.67 of estate funds to his law office accounts. Because the estate was valued at more than $6 million at the time of Bready’s death in 2005, federal law required that a federal estate tax return be filed which would have resulted in approximately $520,351 being paid to the Internal Revenue Service. Scott purposefully failed to file the required form in order to maintain sufficient money in the estate to pay its beneficiaries and to avoid detection of the theft.
After the estate’s executor died in 2009, Scott failed to disclose the executor’s death so that Scott could continue to receive money intended for the estate at his law firm. Scott would then forge the deceased executor’s signature and deposit funds intended for the estate into accounts under his control. Scott had the successor executor sign a document renouncing the position of successor executor so that Scott could continue to forge the signature of the deceased executor and divert money belonging to the estate.
In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge J. Curtis Joyner ordered restitution to the estate in the amount of $2,317,917.67, three years of supervised release, and a $375 special assessment.
The case was investigated by the IRS Criminal Investigations and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Judy G. Smith.