Freeburg Couple Sentenced for Defrauding Elderly Family Member
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. – Ronald Speiser, 81, and Jean Speiser, 81, of Freeburg, Illinois, will spend
their next year in home confinement making restitution payments after defrauding an
elderly family member out of nearly $200,000. The Speisers pled guilty to two counts of fraud and
were sentenced on Thursday, November 18, 2021, in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis, Illinois.
According to Court documents, the Speisers were designated as the victim’s power of attorney and
successor power of attorney in the victim’s estate plan. In June 2018, the Speisers exercised their
authority over the victim’s finances by opening an account 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 new camper and new truck, and making a down payment and thirteen
mortgage payments on a second home.
“The FBI recognizes that seniors can be a particularly vulnerable group,” said Special Agent in
Charge David Nanz. “In this case, Ronald and Jean Speiser were in a position of trust, not only
as power of attorney but as a family member. Rather than being good stewards of the
responsibilities entrusted to them, they chose to steal money and use it for their own personal
gain. The FBI will not hesitate to investigate those who victimize and take advantage of the
elderly citizens of our community.”
While on home confinement, the Speisers will be restricted to their residence except for religious
services, medical appointments, and other pre-approved activities. Their sentence also included an
additional year of supervised release after home confinement and paying full restitution to the
victim. The Speisers paid the victim an initial lump sum of $119,000 as part of
their plea agreement. They will pay the remainder in monthly installments.
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
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 the Federal Bureau of Investigation - Springfield Division.