A 14 year old Ohio girl found out last year that she only had a short time to live. Her final wish—a home for her family. Now, the girl is gone and her uncle is facing charges of grand theft—theft of the home she so badly wanted.
Cleveland showed support for the girl and her family last year when her story was made public. Schools, friends, and kind hearted people raised $120,000 for the girl’s family home. She never had a chance to see that home, though, before she passed away in June from a brain tumor.
The girl’s 35 year old uncle is alleged to have used the money to purchase a home. But, the home was leased to another family so he could collect rent. He is now facing three charges of grand theft over the incident and looking to potentially spend some time in prison.
In addition to purchasing a home for his own benefit, the uncle is said to have bought a BMW, a pool, and another property as well. According to Fox8, he did return $30,000 of the money, a mere drop in the bucket to the girl’s mother.
Although he is charged with theft, this case has some similarities to many identity fraud cases in that one person who was trusted used the vulnerability of another to their own benefit. This happens quite often when it comes to the elderly and people who they trust, whether as family members, caretakers, or friends.
This child was vulnerable and her own uncle is accused of taking advantage of that.
The charge he faces, “grand theft”, applies when theft is in the amount of $5,000 to $100,000. Because he faces three counts, it’s likely that the money he took was in increments on three different occasions.
Each charge of grand theft is a 4th degree felony and carries with it 6-18 months in prison and fines reaching $5,000. These fines don’t include any possible restitution he may be forced to pay to the mother of the victim.
It can be particularly difficult to overcome a criminal charge when the victim is a child or in some other way vulnerable. Especially at sentencing time, once guilt has been established, the particulars of your case including the victim can be taken into consideration.