MADISON — A Connecticut woman who stole $800,000 from her elderly Boone County aunt avoided prison time during her sentencing in Boone County Circuit Court on May 15, 2014.
Margaret Sue Beam, 76, pleaded guilty to embezzlement by misuse of a power of attorney.
At the plea hearing, Beam admitted to using the money for her own benefit, and that after purchasing the home, she obtained a reverse mortgage on the home for $500,000 that paid her monthly installments.
“Because of the greed of the defendant in this case, the elderly victim is left with minimal income and no savings” said Boone County Prosecuting Attorney Keith Randolph. “She is barely meeting her monthly obligations, and on top of that, social security has garnished her wages and the IRS is seeking back taxes. We are working with Congressman Rahall’s office to remedy both of those issues.”
Earlier this year, Trooper E. B. McClung of the West Virginia State Police received a complaint from a 96-year-old Uneeda woman about the loss of money out of her checking account held at a local bank.
Upon investigating the matter, Trooper McClung discovered that Beam, the elderly woman’s niece, had squandered some $800,000 from two accounts as well as cashing in multiple savings bonds.
Trooper McClung determined that Beam was able to access the money by way of a power of attorney she held over the elderly woman. The victim is now 96-years-old.
As part of his investigation, McClung traveled to the State of Connecticut.
Once there, he found that Beam recently purchased a new home in an affluent neighborhood for over $700,000.
Randolph said an alert neighbor noticed the victim was having some financial problems and got suspicious. He contacted State Police.
Randolph commended the work of Trooper McClung and the good will of a neighbor, Helen Jacques.
The judge sentenced Beam to one to ten years in prison but suspended the sentence and ordered her on probation for five years. She has to pay all of the money back. The court ordered payments of $500 a month.
Randolph said a significant portion of the stolen money has been retrieved. He said the victim can now get some relief. He said she was worried after the theft she wouldn’t have enough money to pay for her own funeral.
Prosecutor Randolph said Beam’s age was taken into consideration as part of her sentencing.