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Man stole $34,000 from disabled veteran he was hired to help in Pennsylvania, feds say

Judge's gavel in a courtroom, stack of law books. (wp paarz/Flickr)

A 75-year-old Pennsylvania man appointed to work as the fiduciary for a veteran with disabilities in 1989 has since been accused of stealing from the person he was hired to help, officials say.

A federal grand jury indicted Robert Bruce Ralston, of Evans City, on a charge of misappropriation by a fiduciary, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

Authorities accuse Ralston of making about 44 “unauthorized withdrawals by check” from the veteran’s beneficiary account and transferring that money to himself. He’s believed to have stolen about $34,411.77 from around March 2017 to March 2018.

The defense attorney representing Ralston could not be reached for comment by McClatchy News.

Federal officials say Ralston used the stolen funds to make mortgage payments and pay for his phone and medical bills.

As an appointed Veterans Affairs fiduciary, Ralston was entitled to a 4% monthly fee for his service, according to an indictment filed in court records. He was not allowed to borrow, loan or gift money from the veteran’s account without prior authorization.

Ralston served as the veteran’s fiduciary until June 2018, according to court records.

If Ralston is convicted of the charge, officials say he faces up to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000.


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