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Press Release

“Tacony Dungeon” Defendant Jean McIntosh Sentenced to 40 Years Imprisonment

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania

PHILADELPHIA – U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain announced today that Jean McIntosh, 38, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was sentenced today to 40 years imprisonment by United States District Judge Cynthia Rufe.  McIntosh previously pleaded guilty to a multi-count indictment arising from the defendant’s participation in a decade-long racketeering enterprise led by her mother and co-defendant Linda Weston.  Weston, McIntosh, and other members of the “Weston Family” defrauded the Social Security Administration by targeting extremely vulnerable, mentally ill adults qualified to receive disability benefits, confining and physically abusing them, then stole the victims’ benefits, and converted them for use by the Weston Family.  Two of their victims, Donna Spadea and Maxine Lee, died as a result of the Weston Family’s intentional mistreatment of them. Weston previously received a sentence of life imprisonment plus an additional 80 years.

From approximately 2001 through October 2011, McIntosh and other co-conspirators loyal to Weston (all of whom comprised the racketeering enterprise charged in the indictment) lured mentally handicapped individuals into locations rented by Weston, McIntosh, and others in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Killeen, Texas; Norfolk, Virginia; and West Palm Beach, Florida. Once in captivity, the Weston Family often moved the mentally challenged captives from state to state in order to elude detection by social service and law enforcement agencies.

The Weston Family targeted victims who were estranged from their families and offered them a place to stay.  Once Weston convinced them to move in, she became their representative payee with Social Security and began to receive their disability benefits and in some instances, their state benefits.

During the sentencing proceedings, the government produced victim impact statements that detailed the horrific conditions of the victims’ confinement.  In order to ensure that they would be able to control their victims, Weston, McIntosh, and other Weston Family members confined these individuals to, among other areas, locked rooms, basements, closets, attics, and apartments. While confined to these locations, the captives were often kept isolated and in the dark, sedated with drugs, and poorly fed.  When the victims tried to escape, steal food, or otherwise protest their confinement, members of the Weston Family punished them by slapping, punching, kicking, stabbing, burning and hitting them with closed hands, belts, sticks, bats, and hammers, among other instruments.

“It is hard to fathom this kind of disregard for the dignity of human life,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain.  “The stomach-turning details of this case and unspeakable acts of cruelty McIntosh inflicted on her helpless victims serve as a stark reminder that pure evil does exist in the world.  My sincere hope is that today’s sentence brings some measure of closure to the victims and their families.”

 “The actions of Jean McIntosh and ‘The Weston Family’ were nothing short of monstrous,” said Michael T. Harpster, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “With money as their motive, they used and abused some of society’s most vulnerable. The torture inflicted upon their victims is unthinkable; the pain and the fear they caused, incalculable. Right now, my thoughts are with all who suffered at their hands—the survivors, as well as those who lost their lives.”

“This case remains the most appalling example of Social Security representative payee fraud and abuse the Office of the Inspector General has encountered,” said Michael McGill, Special Agent-in-Charge of the SSA OIG Philadelphia Field Division. “Justice has been served with this significant sentence. We thank our law enforcement partners for contributing to this investigation, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for prosecuting the individuals involved in this horrific conspiracy.” 

“The sentence handed down today highlights the seriousness of the defendant’s conduct,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Guy Ficco.  “Jean McIntosh demonstrated a blatant disregard for human life and caused immeasurable hardship to innocent victims. We, along with our law enforcement partners, and the United States Attorney's Office will continue to hold those who engage in similar conduct accountable.”

“The Weston racketeering enterprise committed unspeakable acts against innocent and vulnerable members of our community,” said Richard Ross Jr., Philadelphia Police Commissioner.  “An intensive inter-agency investigation resulted in the arrests and successful prosecutions of multiple offenders. With the arrest, conviction, and impending sentencing of Jean McIntosh, we sincerely hope that a feeling of closure can commence for the victims and their families.”

This case was investigated by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General (SSI-OIG), and Philadelphia Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Faithe Moore Taylor and Richard Barrett.

Updated August 21, 2018

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