Police Say Man Stole $170,000…From His Mother
A kid steals a dollar from his mother’s purse to buy a candy bar. When caught, he’s grounded. But what kind of punishment is doled out when a grown child drains a parent’s bank account?
That may be up to a St. Louis County District Court judge to decide in the case of Errol John Gilbertson II. The 31-year-old Twin Cities man is accused of stealing about $170,000 from his mother. “He is charged with six crimes: financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult, two counts of theft by swindle, insurance fraud, felony issuance of dishonored checks and financial transaction card fraud,” The Duluth News-Tribune reported.
Gilbertson’s mother, Vicki Gilbertson, suffered dementia and aphasia and was diagnosed in January 2007 with brain cancer. Her bank balance at the time was more than $160,000. When she died at age 58 seven months later, her bank accounts had negative balances of -$9,880.51 and -$944.00, the criminal complaint alleges.
“It certainly is egregious, and fortunately we don’t see many cases with this dollar amount coming through our office; I think they’re pretty rare,” said St. Louis County Attorney Melanie Ford, in The News-Tribune.
Gilbertson also allegedly ran up $89,049.89 on a credit card taken out in his mother’s name without her consent, and attempted to cash two of her Social Security accounts. Additionally, he is accused of refinancing his mother’s home, receiving a $30,000 equity check, and failing to make the refinanced mortgage payments (which has resulted in the home being placed in foreclosure).
The defendant also allegedly falsified a W-2 form to get a refinancing loan on a 2007 Chevy Equinox he originally purchased with his mother’s money before transferring the title to his name by forging her signature.
Gilbertson told police he was driven by addictions to methamphetamine and gambling, according to the criminal complaint.
Regrettably, this kind of story is not as rare as you’d hope. “A large percentage” of victims are well-acquainted with the person who steals their identity, the Identity Theft Resource Center noted in its Aftermath 2007 report released in May. Relatives, ex-spouses, significant others, friends or roommates accounted for 37 percent of the impostors respondents were able to identify, according to the research.
Being a victim of identity theft is tough regardless of the situation, but the emotional toll may be higher when the impostor is a family member. Additional resources for overcoming the trauma of the crime are available online: