A well-known Episcopal blogger and lay leader in the Diocese of Pittsburgh has been accused of stealing funds from an elderly woman who gave him responsibility over her finances and who lives in a nursing home.
According to triblive.com, Lionel Deimel, who keeps a popular blog tracking progressive causes, as well as goings on in the Episcopal Church and in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, earlier this week “was charged June 5 with two counts of theft and one count each of receiving stolen property and misappropriation of entrusted funds. He turned himself in to police Tuesday and was released on $10,000 bond.”
The Indiana (PA) Gazette reports
According to a criminal complaint filed June 5 in Mount Lebanon District Court, Deimel wrote to himself 72 checks totaling almost $104,000 from the woman’s PNC Bank checking account, deposited them in his own account, and used the funds for his own daily living expenses such as groceries, clothing, rent, utilities and loan payments. Investigators said Deimel also charged more than $17,000 of purchases and payments including veterinary hospitals, dentist and doctor offices, gas stations and grocery stores to the woman’s Bank of America credit card.
A criminal complaint shows Deimel, 68, was named a financial power-of-attorney agent for Jane Little in 2009 and was put in charge of managing Little’s money, including medical expenses and payments for her room and board at the Asbury Heights assisted living center.
Asbury Heights officials told police early this year that Little’s account had fallen $60,000 in arrears even though several letters had been sent to Deimel asking for payment.
Officials at Asbury Heights helped Little apply for Medicare assistance to pay her room and board, but the state Department of Welfare turned down the application in November after reviewing Little’s bank records, detective Jackelyn Weibel reported in the complaint.
Writen by Andrew Gerns