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St. Clair County couple gets house arrest for defrauding elderly relative

St. Clair County couple gets house arrest for defrauding elderly relative

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EAST ST. LOUIS — A husband and wife from Freeburg, both 81 years old, have been sentenced in federal court here to a year of house arrest for stealing over $200,000 from an elderly relative, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Ronald W. Speiser and Jean M. Speiser were also ordered to repay nearly $200,000. Of that, $119,000 has already been recovered.

The Speisers pleaded guilty to two mail fraud charges in August and admitted using the power of attorney that the victim had granted them to open a bank account in June 2018 and deposit a $250,000 check after selling their victim's home, prosecutors said.

From December 2018 to at least June 2020, they spent over $200,000 of the victim’s money on personal home renovations, credit card bills, a second home and a new camper and truck, prosecutors said.

Officials said anyone who suspects financial fraud involving someone 60 or older should contact the Justice Department's National Elder Fraud Hotline at 833-372-8311. 

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