An Oceanside couple was arraigned Thursday on charges that they allegedly stole nearly $180,000 from a relative while he was recovering from a stroke.
According to District Attorney Madeline Singas, Philip and Debilyn Neidecker, both 47, were arraigned before Judge Eileen Goggin on charges of second-degree grand larceny, two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and third-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument. The couple allegedly stole money from Philip’s 64-year-old uncle while he was recovering from complications of a stroke.
“The defendants are accused of stealing the life savings of a relative who had recently suffered a stroke and allegedly used that money to pay for concert tickets, vacations and a $10,000 Sweet 16 party for their daughter,” Singas said, according to a release “Stealing from the vulnerable and infirm is particularly reprehensible and I encourage anyone who is aware of someone being exploited in their own families and communities to contact my office.”
According to Singas, on Jan. 22, 2014, the defendants allegedly obtained power of attorney for the uncle, who was in the hospital recovering. On Jan. 23, they allegedly used that power to open a new bank account in the victim’s name, without his consent, at NEFCU, where Debilyn worked as a customer service representative, and also opened a credit card at the bank.
Singas said the defendants allegedly withdrew $138,000 from the victim’s Bank of America account from Jan. 23, 2014, to Aug. 15, 2017, without his permission, and deposited the funds into the NEFCU account. They also allegedly charged nearly $30,000 of expenses on the credit card, and opened a car loan in his name for more than $16,200.
In October 2017, the victim’s two sisters took over the power of attorney after they realized payments on his assisted living residence were not being made. The DA’s office began its investigation soon after.
Vickie Curran, the senior investigative counsel of Singas’s Financial Crimes Bureau is prosecuting the case. Philip Neidecker is represented by Nathan DeCorpo, Esq. and Debilyn Neidecker is represented by Legal Aid.
The defendants were conditionally released to probation and are due back in court on Jan. 31. If convicted of the top count, the defendants face a maximum sentence of five to 15 years in prison.