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Minot Man Pleads Guilty in Theft from Disabled Brother
May 8, 2015
(AUGUSTA) Attorney General Janet Mills announced today that John M. Look, 52, of Minot, has been sentenced in Cumberland County Superior Court for conduct related to his theft of funds that rightly belonged to his disabled brother.
Following the death of their mother in 2008, Look became the conservator and legal guardian of his brother, who suffered a brain injury in a motorcycle accident as a teenager. Look’s brother resides at a treatment facility and receives federal and state benefits. Look’s mother left a life insurance policy for the benefit of his brother, of which Look was the conservator. The policy paid out to a trust in his brother’s name in September 2011 and February 2012.
Between September 2011 and October 2012, Look deposited money from this trust into his checking account for personal use. Upon discovery of this unreported income in the fall of 2012, benefits ceased to Look’s brother and the residential facility was not compensated for services provided.
“When anyone is granted the power and authority to serve as the legal guardian of another person, they take on great responsibility to act in the best interest of that person,” said Attorney General Mills. “Having access to the finances of someone who cannot make decisions for themselves does not give you the right to spend that money as you please, let alone to use it to line your own pockets. We will defend those who cannot defend themselves from anyone who will take advantage of a disability to steal from another. Cases like this one are very difficult, but very important.”
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has published guides for people who are serving as powers of attorney, trustees, court appointed guardians and government fiduciaries (Social Security representative payees and VA fiduciaries.) These guides lay out what is expected of anyone who must serve in these important roles.
Look pled guilty to one count of Class B Theft and one count of Class D Misuse of Entrusted Property on April 29, 2015 and was sentenced by Justice Warren the same day. On the felony charge of theft, Look received a sentence of six years, all but thirteen months suspended, and three years of probation. Look received a six month concurrent sentence on the misdemeanor misuse of entrusted property. Both convictions are attached to a condition that Look pay $133,000 in restitution to his brother. Look will report to begin serving his sentence 60 days from the date of sentencing.
This case and was handled by Assistant Attorney General Carrie Carney and was investigated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General.