April 30, 2014
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced today that a Preble County attorney has been found guilty of stealing money from multiple elderly or disabled residents while working as the guardian of their estates.
James Thomas Jr., 38, of Brookville, pleaded no contest to a bill of information this morning charging him with three counts of theft from an elderly person or disabled adult and three counts of falsification. After accepting the no contest plea, visiting Judge Neal Bronson found him guilty of the charges.
The charges were filed after an investigation conducted by the Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) found that Thomas took more than $208,000 from four victims’ bank accounts between 2007 and 2013.
The victims, who range in age from 41-72, are all Preble County residents.
“As guardian of their estates, it was this defendant’s job to protect these individuals from financial exploitation, but the investigation found that he regularly used their bank accounts as his personal ATM,” said Attorney General DeWine. “Those who prey on Ohio’s vulnerable citizens should be on notice that we will do everything we can to protect our elderly and disabled citizens from those who take advantage of them.”
The falsification charges relate to the filing of false documents associated with the guardianships in Preble County probate court.
The case is being prosecuted by Attorney General DeWine’s Special Prosecutions Section. Investigators with the Preble County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the investigation.
Thomas will be sentenced on June 17, 2014.