COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A former Ohio attorney has pleaded guilty to stealing more than $882,000 from an elderly woman with dementia over a seven-year period.
Mark Alan Thomas, 62, of St. Clairsville, Belmont County, pleaded guilty to mail fraud and faces up to 20 years in prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio.
According to court records, Thomas defrauded the woman from 2012 through August 2019 while acting as her Power of Attorney.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Thomas continued to act as the woman’s attorney after his law license was revoked in 2015, convincing banks and life insurance companies, among others, to transfer the victim’s money for his personal use.
Court documents said Thomas told a banker he needed $200,00 from the victim’s investment account to set up an educational fund she wanted, but once he received the money, he transferred it to himself.
Thomas also allegedly cashed more than $290,000 of the victim’s U.S. Treasury Bonds and transferred $200,000 into his law firm’s bank account, then eventually, to his personal account.
Thomas also wrote letters to three life insurance companies pretending to be the victim, cashing out her policies and having correspondence directed to himself.
A federal grand jury indicted Thomas in Sept. 2021.
“My office is dedicated to protecting the most vulnerable among us, particularly those targeted through elder fraud,” U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker said in a statement. “The victim in this case was 85 years old, exhibiting symptoms of dementia, and living in a senior-care facility, making the defendant’s conduct even more depraved.”
To report elder fraud, please visit the FBI’s IC3 Elder Fraud Complaint Center or contact the dedicated National Elder Fraud Hotline at 833–FRAUD–11 or 833–372–8311 Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.