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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Illinois

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, August 6, 2021

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.
 

Updated August 6, 2021