Piper City man charged with stealing dad's benefit checks
PAXTON — A Piper City man remained jailed Monday on a $100,000 bond for allegedly stealing about $20,000 in Social Security and pension payments from his elderly father.
John F. Weller Jr., 38, who listed an address in the 300 block of East Market Street in Piper City, was charged Friday in Ford County Circuit Court with one count of unlawful financial exploitation of an elderly person, a Class 2 felony.
The charge alleges that from March 2012 through April 2013, Weller Jr. was acting as the "representative payee" of Social Security and pension benefits for his father, John F. Weller Sr.
The benefits totaled $1,500 per month in Social Security payments and $259 per month in payments for Weller Sr.'s pension from Heritage FS, according to a probable cause statement filed in court by Ford County sheriff's office investigator Pat Duffy.
Duffy said that during the 13-month period, Weller Jr. allegedly never deposited the funds in his father's bank account at the Farmers-Merchants National Bank in Piper City. Weller Jr. also allegedly did not pay his father's utility, gas, electric, water or telephone bills.
Weller Jr. was arrested July 11 and remained Monday at the Ford County Jail on a $100,000 bond, meaning he must pay $10,000 to be released.
In court on July 12, public defender Harvey Welch of Urbana was appointed to represent Weller Jr., and a preliminary hearing was set for 10 a.m. Aug. 5.
Weller Jr. was also ordered to have no contact with his father and have no presence at his father's home.
Upon conviction, unlawful financial exploitation of an elderly person is punishable by a sentence ranging from a maximum of four years of probation to three to seven years in prison and up to a $25,000 fine.