Local Woman Accused of Stealing Nearly $250K from Her Mother

| December 7, 2018

CLARION, Pa. (ETY) – A local woman is facing nearly 700 charges after she allegedly stole around $250,000.00 from her mother over a three-year-period.

According to court documents, the Clarion-based State Police filed the following criminal charges against 56-year-old Deborah Lee Bottaro, of Clarion:

  • Forgery – Alter Writing, Felony 2 (14 counts)
  • Theft By Unlawful Taking-Movable Property, Felony 3 (334 counts)
  • Theft By Failure To Make Required Disposition of Funds, Felony 3 (334 counts)
  • Possession of Access Device Knowing Counterfeit, Altered, Misdemeanor 3 (5 counts)

The charges were filed on Tuesday, December 4, 2018, following a joint investigation by Toni Forsythe, a protective services investigator with Clarion Area Agency on Aging, and Clarion-based State Trooper Katherine Berggren.

The alleged crimes occurred between May of 2015 and April of 2018.

In May of 2018, Clarion State Police Trooper Berggren was assigned to investigate a theft that had been committed against the victim by the victim’s daughter, Deborah Bottaro.

According to a criminal complaint, the victim had originally appointed both of her daughters, Deborah Bottaro and a known woman, to be her designated Power of Attorney (P.O.A.) in September of 2013. However, a P.O.A. Revocation took place in May of 2015, granting Deborah Bottaro the sole P.O.A. for the victim, the complaint states.

Shortly after this change, Bottaro moved her entire family into the victim’s residence, according to the complaint.

This investigation stemmed from the Clarion-based State Police being contacted by the known woman reporting that she had discovered that the victim’s utility bills were not being paid. She was fearful that the victim’s funds were being misappropriated, the complaint indicates.

The victim is a 78-year-old female widow who resides in a single-family residence in Clarion Township.

During the course of the investigation, Trooper Berggren received the victim’s banking account information from the Clarion Area Agency on Aging.

The victim’s accounts include several checking accounts, money market funds, annuities, certificate of deposits, and life insurance funds which she had accrued, along with her deceased husband’s, over a period of time to secure her financial security in her later years.

Upon reviewing the victim’s account documentation, the complaint states that it is apparent that Bottaro had cashed the victim’s CD’s and annuities, depositing the money into the victim’s checking accounts, and then removed the money in the form of checks written to herself for cash, withdrawals, and checks written to businesses and other entities which were not on the behalf of the victim, according to the complaint.

Checks written from the victim’s accounts had the victim’s signature and endorsement but were not written in the victim’s handwriting. Bottaro had also made telephonic transfers from the victim’s account to her own account. A preliminary report received shows that the defendant made transactions from the victim’s accounts, which were not for her benefit, in the amount of $248,076.15.

The following is a list of transactions from the victim’s accounts made by Bottaro which support the charges filed on this criminal complaint.

  • The victim’s standard checking account had a total of 134 transactions of fraudulent nature. The transaction totals resulted in approximately $55,426.93 taken from the account.
  • The victim’s other checking account had a total of 19 transactions of fraudulent nature. The transaction totals resulted in approximately $14,783.06 taken from the account.
  • The victim’s money market account had a total of 77 transactions of fraudulent nature. The transaction totals resulted in approximately $40,402.98 taken from the account.
  • The victim’s home equity loan had a total of 38 transactions of fraudulent nature. The transaction totals resulted in approximately $38,706.64 taken from the account.
  • The victim’s life insurance had a total of two transactions of fraudulent nature. The transaction totals resulted in approximately $7,996.31 taken from the account.
  • The victim’s certificate of deposit (CD) had a total of one transaction of fraudulent nature. The transaction totals resulted in approximately $26,655.58 taken from the account.
  • The victim had a VISA Platinum credit card that was placed in her name without the victim’s knowledge. A total of six transactions took place of fraudulent nature. the transaction totals resulted in approximately $3,478.72 credited to the card account.
  • The victim had a Lowe’s credit card that was placed in her name without the victim’s knowledge. A total of ten transactions took place of a fraudulent nature. The transaction totals resulted in approximately $9,742.47 credited on the card account.
  • The victim had a JC Penney’s credit card that was placed in her name without the victim’s knowledge. A total of 14 transactions took place of a fraudulent nature. The transaction totals resulted in approximately $2,817.43 credited on the card.
  • The victim had a Capital One Credit card that was placed in her name without her knowledge. A total of 23 transactions took place of a fraudulent nature. The transaction totals resulted in approximately $40,777.13 credited on the card.
  • The victim had a Chase Bank Card that was placed in her name without her knowledge. A total of 10 transactions took place of a fraudulent nature. The transaction totals resulted in approximately $7,288.90 credited on the card.

There were approximately 334 total counts of transactions of fraudulent nature.

According to the complaint, the victim did not authorize or request these transactions be made on her accounts and the defendant did not make these transactions for the benefit of the victim.

The P.O.A. was established for Bottaro to control and make transactions from the victim’s accounts for the victim’s benefit.

The P.O.A. directed that Bottaro must use due care to act for the victim’s benefit in the exercise of powers to handle the victim’s property.

Bottaro turned herself in late Thursday morning (December 6, 2018).

She was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Duane L. Quinn
at 11:00 a.m.

She is being represented by Warrendale-based Attorney Jeffrey Paul Myers.

Bottaro was lodged in the Clarion County Jail after failing to post $50,000.00 cash bail.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for December 18 at 10:00 a.m. with Judge Quinn presiding.


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