Elderly fraud victim describes her ordeal
Two Lexington men who stole from vulnerable, elderly relatives were sentenced Friday to prison terms and ordered to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in restitution.
U.S. District Judge Danny C. Reeves sentenced John Jerome O’Hara to two years and two months in prison and set his restitution at $332,149.
In a separate case, Reeves sentenced Paul Anthony Long II to three years and six months in prison and ordered him to pay $608,395 in restitution.
O’Hara took advantage of his power of attorney over his mother’s finances to take money.
At the same time, he didn’t make mortgage payments on her home in Lexington, which went into foreclosure, and didn’t pay her expenses at a Louisville retirement home, so other family members had to pay.
O’Hara’s mother suffered from dementia, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Robert M. Duncan Jr.
O’Hara’s attorney, Charles P. Gore, said O’Hara’s life crumbled and his finances suffered after his wife filed for divorce.
In an effort to soften the emotional and financial impact on his children, O’Hara focused all his attention on providing for them, but used his mother’s money to do it, Gore said.
“He threw himself into the lives of his children and did not act responsibly towards providing for them,” Gore said in a memorandum to Reeves.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn M. Anderson, however, said O’Hara “abused the fortune of being born into a wealthy family, by taking this money without even covering his mother’s living expenses.”
In Long’s case, he abused his access to his grandfather’s accounts as his power of attorney to steal from him.
The grandfather, a World War II veteran, was in the Thomson-Hood Veterans Center in Wilmore at the time and suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, according to court records.
Long, who has worked as a teacher, wrote checks to himself and to his wife and withdrew more than $100,000 of his grandfather’s money from automatic teller machines, according to the charges against him.
Long’s grandfather died in 2015.
Duncan’s office said in a news release that the cases highlight efforts by federal and state authorities to combat financial abuse of elderly people.
“These prosecutions underscore our commitment to seeking justice on behalf of this vulnerable population,” Duncan said.