Church elders sentenced to 15 years for $6 million theft

by metatron_jr 14 Replies latest watchtower scandals

  • metatron_jr
    metatron_jr

    I'm astonished this hasn't already been posted...

    From http://www.helenair.com/articles/2003/05/13/breaking/latest0004.txt

    Church elders sentenced to 15 years for $6 million theft

    by The Associated Press

    DEER LODGE (AP) - Two Jehovah's Witness church elders who fleeced a 100-year-old Deer Lodge woman out of her life savings and family ranch were sentenced Monday to 25 years in prison with 10 suspended.

    District Judge Ted Mizner sentenced Darryl Willis, 64, of Helena, and Dale Erickson, 54, of Missoula, in what prosecutors called the biggest theft case in Montana history.

    The men _ who pleaded guilty to conspiracy, theft and securities fraud _ were ordered to pay $6.5 million in restitution.

    The thefts included taking a nearly $400,000 brokerage fee for illegally and secretly selling Una Anderson's $5.3 million Powell County ranch for $4 million.

    More than $2 million went to finance a failed effort to establish Montana's first foreign capital depository, which would offer a place for the super-rich to stash their money similar to Swiss-style or offshore banks.

    Mizner said the sentence represents a "small measure of justice" for Anderson, whose life savings and 6,400-acre family ranch were lost in a befriend-and-betray scheme that played out from 1995 to 2002.

    The men used a complex system of trusts and interlocking companies to steal Anderson's money while living in expensive homes, driving luxury cars and traveling extensively, court records said.

    Anderson, who is now 101, said she is glad that justice was served, but is sad for the men who made poor decisions and ruined their lives.

    "It's sad to think of those two young people," she said of Erickson and Willis. "My life has been good, but it's almost over. They had everything ahead of them."

    During the sentencing hearing, family members and a social worker for Adult Protective Services, Janel Pliley, asked the court to impose the maximum sentence allowed by law _ which would have totaled 40 years.

    Kelson Colbo, whose grandfather was Una Anderson's first cousin, said Erickson and Willis used Anderson's trust with the church as leverage to convince her to trust them with her finances.

    The case was brought to the attention of authorities in September 2001 by members of Anderson's family and Pliley.



    http://www.helenair.com/articles/2003/05/14/montana_top/a01051403_05.txt

    Ex-church elders get prison for bilking elderly woman

    By Vera Haffey - The Montana Standard

    DEER LODGE — Jehovah's Witnesses church elders who fleeced a 100-year-old Deer Lodge woman out of more than $6 million were remanded to Montana State Prison after a sentencing hearing in Powell County District Court Monday.

    Darryl Willis, 64, Helena, and Dale Erickson, 54, Missoula, were sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison with four years suspended each for felony charges of conspiracy and theft; three years with one suspended for felony conspiracy, and two years with one suspended for securities fraud, also a felony. That amounts to an aggregate 25 years in prison with 10 suspended.

    The two are also ordered to make $6.5 million in restitution. And, during the probationary period of their sentence, they may not control anyone's finances.

    District Judge Ted Mizner said the sentence represents a ‘‘small measure of justice'' for Una Anderson, whose life savings and family ranch were lost in a befriend-and-betray scheme. The men used a complex system of trusts and interlocking companies to steal Anderson's money, lived in expensive homes, drove luxury cars and traveled extensively abroad to places like London and the Caribbean while depleting her trust fund money, according to court records.

    Erickson and Willis sat calmly throughout the proceedings. Afterwards, their family members wept in a huddle in the courtroom.

    Former Jehovah's Witness church elder Darryl Willis hugs his children Darra Norgaard and Brandon Willis next to his wife, Leigh, during a recess in his sentencing hearing in Powell County District Court Monday. Willis was sentenced to 25 years with 10 years suspended with restitution set at $6.5 million for defrauding Una Anderson of millions of dollars including her family ranch. (PHOTO BY DEREK PRUITT/THE MONTANA STANDARD, MAY 12, 2003)

    Anderson, who is now 101, said she is glad that justice was served, but is sad for the men who made poor decisions and ruined their lives.

    ‘‘It's sad to think of those two young people,'' she said of Erickson and Willis. ‘‘My life has been good, but it's almost over. They had everything ahead of them.''

    A few spectators and family members attended the sentencing hearing in the biggest theft case in Montana history. Some were called as witnesses and questioned, then cross-examined.

    Brandon Morgan Willis told the court his father was generous and loving, the kind of person who would go back to a store to return money if a cashier made a mistake and gave too much change. The elder Willis ‘‘lost his savvy'' when poor health fell upon him in the mid-1990s, leaving his decision-making skills compromised, Brandon Willis said.

    But prosecuting attorney Mark Murphy pointed out that Willis continued drawing a wage for managing Una Anderson's trust, despite his claims to ill health and an inability to perform. That included a brokerage fee of $400,000 for illegally and secretly selling Anderson's Powell County ranch.

    Family members and a social worker for Adult Protective Services, Janel Pliley, testified at the hearing and asked the court to impose the maximum sentences allowable by law. Leveling the maximum penalty would make it easier to prosecute the 250 or so cases of elder abuse she handles each year. That would be 40 years in prison.

    Sarah Kelson, who lives with Una Anderson at her aunt's modest home on the outskirts of town, described the white collar criminals' attitude towards the charges as ‘‘cavalier,'' and said they expressed no remorse. She also asked for maximum penalties.

    Kelson Colbo, whose grandfather was Una Anderson's first cousin, said Erickson and Willis used Anderson's trust with the church as leverage to convince her to trust them with her finances.

    The case was brought to the attention of Sheriff Scott Howard in September 2001 by members of the elderly woman's family and Pliley. Because of the magnitude of the allegations, County Attorney Chris Miller and Howard enlisted the help of state officials.

    Assistant Attorney Generals Mark Murphy and Melissa Broch led the prosecution team. Murphy specializes in white-collar crime, and Broch is experienced in complex litigation.

    Reporter Vera Haffey may be reached via e-mail at vhaffey@in-tch.com.

  • Hamas
  • mustang
    mustang

    tip of the iceberg....

    Mustang

  • Valis
    Valis

    ...at least he'll have some time to witness while he's locked up and probably get in some same sex sex while he's at it...one can only hope..

    Sincerely,

    District Overbeer

  • Gerard
    Gerard

    You don't get it, do you?

    These elders saw the "new light" and had a "divine inspiration" from Jehovah that He wanted them to rip-off the old lady. Jehovah wanted it that way!!!!!!!

  • shamus
    shamus

    I predict a good old'fashioned ass raping soon..... that is what happens when you lie in the name of god.

  • obiwan
    obiwan

    It just goes to show how imperfect we all are...even elders.

  • hawkaw
    hawkaw

    You guys are really into the "don't drop the soap" responses - LOL.

    Next it will be - enjoy your dose of Hep. C !!!!!

    I guess I really want to know if this guy and the dude down in Flor-i-duh will stay as JWs in good standing and as some kind of overseer. And its still too bad the police couldn't link it too the Borg. That would have been a real blast!

    hawk

  • Mr. Kim
    Mr. Kim

    And why don't the SOCIETY talk about this episode in the Watchtower and Awake magazines? I guess the Elders are not perfect and ARE NOT above reproach? How strange, huh?

  • Big Tex
    Big Tex
    I guess I really want to know if this guy and the dude down in Flor-i-duh will stay as JWs in good standing and as some kind of overseer.

    Of course hawk. After all, it's their word against the woman's. Remember the two witness rule? If anything she might get in trouble becuase she was involved in a legal proceeding against a brother.

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