Man jailed for $188K theft

Times Chronicle & Public Spirit - - FRONT PAGE - By Carl Hessler Jr. [email protected]­tu­ry­media.com @mont­co­court­news on Twit­ter

Say­ing a Hor­sham man lacked re­morse and was noth­ing more than a “com­mon thief,” a judge sent him to prison for em­bez­zling more than $188,000 from his cousin’s es­tate for which he was the ex­ecu­tor, funds that were meant for the dy­ing man’s two chil­dren.

“He was the per­fect guardian in this dy­ing man’s eyes. That cloak of re­spectabil­ity proved to be a dis­guise. John Wam­bold turned out to be a com­mon thief and a con artist,” Mont­gomery County Judge Risa Vetri Fer­man said on Mon­day as she sen­tenced Wam­bold to 1-to-5-years in state prison.

Tes­ti­mony re­vealed the vic­tim en­trusted Wam­bold, a lo­cal busi­ness­man, to en­sure the $188,000 would be dis­trib­uted to the vic­tim’s two teenage sons for their ed­u­ca­tions.

“There are no grounds that ex­cuse or jus­tify this theft from two teenagers,” said Fer­man. “This money was en­trusted to the de­fen­dant from a loved one on his death bed. In­stead, the de­fen­dant used all of the funds for him­self.”

Call­ing it a “brazen lack of re­morse,” the judge ap­peared par­tic­u­larly dis­turbed when Wam­bold, while plead­ing for le­niency and pro­ba­tion, im­plied that other monies were avail­able to pay for the chil­dren’s ed­u­ca­tions. Fer­man said Wam­bold tried to min­i­mize his con­duct.

Wam­bold also must com­plete 500 hours of com­mu­nity ser­vice and the judge or­dered him to have no con­tact with the vic­tims. Wam­bold is pro­hib­ited from han-

“There are no grounds that ex­cuse or jus­tify this theft from two teenagers.”

— Mont­gomery County Judge Risa Vetri Fer­man

“His ac­tions are dis­grace­ful. He’s a thief. He’s a thief who’s upset that he got caught.”

— Mont­gomery County As­sis­tant Dis­trict At­tor­ney Christo­pher Daniels

dling the fi­nances of oth­ers dur­ing his su­per­vi­sion.

“I take full re­spon­si­bil­ity for this un­for­tu­nate sit­u­a­tion,” Wam­bold said be­fore learn­ing his fate.

Wam­bold, 68, of the 900 block of Ten­nis Av­enue, pre­vi­ously pleaded guilty to a felony charge of theft by un­law­ful tak­ing in con­nec­tion with in­ci­dents that oc­curred be­tween Oc­to­ber 2012 and Fe­bru­ary 2014.

The two teenage boys tes­ti­fied about the fam­ily’s fi­nan­cial prob­lems and the angst they suf­fered dur­ing the in­ter­ven­ing years that Wam­bold ne­glected them of their in­her­i­tance. One teen, who had to with­draw from col­lege as a re­sult of the theft, called it Wam­bold’s “di­a­bol­i­cal plan.”

“My dad was the best kind of man and you can’t rob him of that,” one of the teenagers ad­dressed Wam­bold.

“How could a fam­ily mem­ber steal chil­dren’s money?” the boys’ mother tes­ti­fied.

As­sis­tant Dis­trict At­tor­ney Christo­pher Daniels ar­gued for prison time against Wam­bold, call­ing his con­duct a fam­ily be­trayal. Daniels said Wam­bold used the money for his own in­ter­ests, in­clud­ing pur­chas­ing a car.

“His ac­tions are dis­grace­ful. He’s a thief. He’s a thief who’s upset that he got caught,” Daniels ar­gued. “These two young chil­dren, who were teenagers at the time, had to change plans that they had. Both of these kids had plans in life and their fa­ther left them money so that they could ex­e­cute those plans and this de­fen­dant’s theft of that money re­ally changed ev­ery­thing.”

Tes­ti­mony re­vealed Wam­bold re­cently paid full resti­tu­tion prior to his sen­tenc­ing hear­ing. De­spite the resti­tu­tion be­ing paid, Daniels ar­gued jail time was war­ranted be­cause of the angst the vic­tims suf­fered when they dis­cov­ered that Wam­bold had stolen the money.

With the sen­tenc­ing hear­ing com­pleted, the court will now re­lease the $188,000 in resti­tu­tion to the vic­tims.

De­fense lawyer Paul Is­i­crate sought le­niency for Wam­bold, ar­gu­ing he had no prior crim­i­nal record and was re­morse­ful.

“For most of his life Mr. Wam­bold has been an ex­em­plary cit­i­zen. He’s ac­cepted full re­spon­si­bil­ity for his ac­tions and is ex­tremely con­trite and re­morse­ful,” Is­i­crate main­tained. “He made a sig­nif­i­cant mis­take. He rec­og­nizes that.”

An in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­gan in April 2016, when the ex-wife of a New Jer­sey man filed a pri­vate crim­i­nal com­plaint with the dis­trict at­tor­ney’s of­fice claim­ing Wam­bold stole more than $160,000 from the es­tate of the man, who was the fa­ther of her two sons.

Un­der the man’s will, all as­sets of the es­tate were to be equally di­vided be­tween the dece­dent’s two sons, ac­cord­ing to the crim­i­nal com­plaint filed by county De­tec­tive Wal­ter Kerr. The will fur­ther stated that the as­sets could be used to pay for the chil­dren’s “wel­fare, sup­port, med­i­cal at­ten­tion and ed­u­ca­tion” un­til the age of 30, ac­cord­ing to court pa­pers.

The dece­dent’s ex-wife told au­thor­i­ties that when she con­tacted Wam­bold in De­cem­ber 2012 to in­quire about the value of the es­tate he did not pro­vide any in­for­ma­tion, ac­cord­ing to the ar­rest af­fi­davit.

In 2014, the dece­dent’s ex-wife and her two chil­dren filed civil pro­ceed­ings against Wam­bold in or­der to de­ter­mine “the mat­ter of the pro­bate of the will” and a hear­ing was held in New Jer­sey Su­pe­rior Court.

“Dur­ing the sub­se­quent hear­ing, John Wam­bold ad­mit­ted that he had used in ex­cess of $160,000 from the es­tate ac­count for his own per­sonal use,” Kerr al­leged.

Dur­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, de­tec­tives ob­tained a war­rant to seize bank records as­so­ci­ated with the es­tate. Those records, de­tec­tives al­leged, showed that be­gin­ning on Oct. 15, 2013, reg­u­lar cash with­drawals were made at ATM lo­ca­tions near Wam­bold’s home and nu­mer­ous checks were writ­ten against the es­tate ac­count di­rectly to Wam­bold.

One check was writ­ten to pur­chase a car for $34,273, ac­cord­ing to the ar­rest af­fi­davit.

“The records showed that John Wam­bold did make le­git­i­mate pay­ments from the es­tate ac­count in the amount of $21,144.06 and that he had used a to­tal of $188,592.02 of the es­tate funds for his own per­sonal use,” Kerr al­leged, adding Wam­bold “in­ten­tion­ally dealt with these funds as his own and failed to make the re­quired pay­ment or dis­po­si­tion of these funds.”

“He was the per­fect guardian in this dy­ing man’s eyes. That cloak of re­spectabil­ity proved to be a dis­guise. John Wam­bold turned out to be a com­mon thief and a con artist.” — Mont­gomery County Judge Risa Vetri Fer­man

CARL HESSLER JR. — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

John Wam­bold, 68, of Am­bler, is sen­tenced to 1 to 5 years in prison for em­bez­zling more than $188,000 from his cousin’s es­tate for which he was the ex­ecu­tor, funds that were meant for the dy­ing man’s two chil­dren.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.