HARRISBURG - A Pennsylvania man is facing charges after prosecutors say he abused his position as power of attorney by using money earmarked for children's funds to pay personal bills and taxes for nearly four years.
Kenneth Neeld, Jr., 47, has been charged with theft, forgery, insurance fraud and related offenses, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced on Thursday.
An investigation found that 84-year-old Keith Jerome was terminally ill when he agreed to let Neeld Jr. manage his financial assets. Jerome's will directed Neeld Jr. to donate all of his money to Amigos de Jesus, Zawadi Fund International, and the Coatesville Senior Center after Jerome’s passing.
Prosecutors say from March 2016 through September 2020 Neeld Jr. funneled over $250,000 from Jerome's estate into his personal bank account and used the money to pay bills including auto repairs, veterinary appointments, and a vacation home rental.
Neeld Jr., who runs a funeral home in Chester County, is also alleged to have charged Jerome’s insurance company for a funeral that he never performed. The list of allegations indicates that Neeld Jr. forged a document suggesting that Jerome owed Neeld money that he’d already stolen.
To cover up his alleged theft and fraud, prosecutors say Neeld Jr. provided false information on Jerome Estate's tax return. He also lead one insurance company to believe that Jerome was still alive.
Pennsylvania officials did not provide an upcoming court date. Senior Deputy Attorney General M. Eric Schoenberg is prosecuting the case.
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