His brother begged a judge not to approve Brent A. Carney as trustee of a trust fund that their late mother established to care for their deaf, mentally handicapped sister.
Carney is mentally ill, has a criminal record that includes theft and slapping their sister and could not be trusted to administer the fund, older brother James Michael “Mike” Carney told the judge.
Nonetheless , Muskingum County Probate Judge Joseph A. Gormley approved Brent Carney in May 2008. Gormley did so after requiring Carney to obtain a $500,000 bond.
Two years later, the trust money is gone. The approximately $150,000 in the trust that their mother left for Lisa Anne Carney Ferguson is drained. Only $162.04 remains, records show.
A Fairfield County grand jury indicted Brent Carney on June 4. He is charged with theft from an elderly or disabled adult by deception, which is a first-degree felony, and with complicity to commit failure to provide change of address, a fourth-degree felony.
Mike Carney is furious with his brother and with the judge.
“How low can you go, man, to stick it to your own family member?” he asked. “He deserves to do some hard time for what he has done.”
Mike Carney said he plans to file a complaint with the Ohio Supreme Court’s disciplinary counsel against Judge Gormley for approving Brent Carney as the trustee despite abundant evidence indicating that it would be a bad idea.
“His actions were inexcusable. That was poor judgment,” Mike Carney said.
The judge said he tried to respect the mother’s wishes in naming Brent the trustee and tried to protect Lisa’s interests by requiring the bond. He said he didn’t think Brent would be able to get bonded and was surprised when he did.
“Despite his shortcomings, he was able to get a bond,” Gormley said. “It’s unfortunate that he has apparently misappropriated the funds, but Lisa can now look to the bonding company and say, ‘Replace my money.’ So, it’s not as gloomy as it looks.”
The family was unaware of the trust fund’s depletion until recently, when a Fairfield County investigation into the production and use of counterfeit checks led law enforcement first to Whitacre, then to Brent.
Brent Carney remains in the county jail in lieu of $250,000 bond. He has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled for trial in August. Fairfield County Prosecutor David Landefeld refused to comment on the case because it is pending.
Mike and Greg Carney have told Lisa that Brent stole her money. She is upset and angry, Mike said, but doesn’t fully comprehend what happened.
“She doesn’t understand the amount he really took,” he said.
Full Article and Source:
Brother Accused of Stealing From Disabled Sister