Freeburg Couple Plead Guilty to Defrauding Elderly Family Member
EAST SAINT LOUIS, Ill. – Ronald Speiser, 81, and Jean Speiser, 81, of Freeburg, Illinois, pled
guilty today in federal court to two felony charges after defrauding an elderly family member out
of nearly $200,000.
The Speisers were designated as the victim’s power of attorney and successor power of attorney in
estate documents. In June 2018, they exercised their authority over the victim’s finances by
opening a joint account for Ronald Speiser and the victim at Citizens Community Bank in Mascoutah,
Illinois, and depositing a check for over $250,000 after selling the victim’s home. Starting around
December 2018, and continuing until at least June 2020, the Speisers abused their access to
these funds by spending over $200,000 of the victim’s money without the victim’s knowledge or
permission, and for purposes that did not benefit the victim. Their spending spree included over
$50,000 in personal home renovations, paying over a year’s worth of personal credit card bills,
purchasing a $29,000 camper and $23,000 truck, and making a down payment and thirteen mortgage
payments on a second home.
As part of the plea agreement, the Speisers agreed to a sentence including twelve months of home
confinement and full restitution to the victim, including $119,000 that must be paid
before their sentencing hearing. The Speisers’ sentencing is set for November 18, 2021, at 1:30pm
in the federal courthouse in East St. Louis.
This case was brought as part of the Department of Justice’s Elder Fraud Initiative. Information
about the Department of Justice’s Elder Fraud Initiative is available at www.justice.gov/elderjustice.
If you or someone you know is age 60 or older and has been a victim of financial fraud, help is
standing by at the National Elder Fraud Hotline: 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311). This
U.S. Department of Justice hotline, managed by the Office for Victims of Crime, is staffed by
experienced professionals who provide personalized support to callers by assessing the needs of the
victim, and identifying relevant next steps. Case managers will identify appropriate reporting
agencies, provide information to callers to assist them in reporting, connect callers directly with
appropriate agencies, and provide resources and referrals, on a case-by-case basis. Reporting is
the first step. Reporting can help authorities identify those who commit fraud and reporting
certain financial losses due to fraud as soon as possible can increase the likelihood of recovering
losses. The hotline is staffed 7 days a week from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. eastern time. English, Spanish and other languages are available.
The case was investigated by Adult Protective Services, St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department, and
Federal Bureau o Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney
Luke J. Weissler.