The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

He had power of attorney over his Alzheimer’s-afflicted mother — and stole $332,000, grand jury says


For nearly four years, John Jerome O’Hara took charge of his mother’s care at a Kentucky nursing home as Alzheimer’s disease robbed her of independence.

O’Hara gained power of attorney over her affairs in June 2014 and was expected to manage thousands of dollars in income a month — and, perhaps most important, direct most of it for living expenses at Wesley Manor in Louisville.

For nearly four years, he robbed her of more than $332,000, according to a grand jury indictment released Friday that totaled 18 counts — 10 of bank fraud, four of wire fraud and four of “access device fraud.”

The charges carry a maximum of several lifetimes in prison, the indictment said. Each bank fraud count carries a maximum of 30 years in prison. There is also the potential for hefty fines and restitution.

O’Hara used a steady stream of his mother’s income from Social Security and other investments “to pay for personal expenses, including cell phone plans, credit card payments, youth soccer fees, and entertainment,” the indictment said.

Former Miss Kentucky charged with sending nude photos to 15-year-old ex-student

He did so in part by writing checks to himself, according to the indictment. Others were written out to cash or signed “POA” for power of attorney, and he also withdrew money from her bank accounts to use for his expenses, it said.

O’Hara’s alleged theft left a trail of financial distress. He did not pay his mother’s living expenses, the indictment said, forcing family members to pay more than $100,000 to keep her cared for at the nursing home.

But other obligations also went unpaid. O’Hara missed mortgage payments at his mother’s home in Lexington, the indictment said. The home was foreclosed in March.

O’Hara could not be reached for comment, and no attorney was listed for him in court documents. He was ordered to appear in court for arraignment on Dec. 21. His age was not listed in court documents.

Read More:

‘Crying Nazi’ vows ‘destruction’ of the left after Charlottesville killer’s murder conviction

After the deadly Camp Fire, a dog waited for his owner’s return. They’ve finally been reunited.