|Click to watch video|
A former police officer and drug enforcement officer was sentenced to jail on Friday after pleading guilty to charges of stealing from a family friend.
Prosecutors said Bruce Chase convinced a woman who had lost her husband to let him control her husband's finances through power of attorney, but used the money for himself over four years. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail in Cumberland County combined court after pleading guilty to charges of class B theft and misuse of entrusted property, a release from the Cumberland County District Attorney's Office said.
He was also ordered to pay $159,000 in restitution.
Chase's victim talked about what had happened and how the former Portland police officer and Maine Drug Enforcement Agency agent exploited her trust.
"I wish it was more. Even the judge said, the punishment doesn't fit the crime," Penny Cobb said.
She said Chase approached her at her husband's funeral and recalled what he said to her.
"Do you think Don knew he was going to die? And I said 'No, why? 'And he said, 'Well if he did, he would've asked me to help you.'"
Bruce Chase was a friend at the time of her husband's death in 2008. In the months following his death, Chase convinced the Portland woman to sign over power of attorney, giving him complete financial control.
"Bruce had always been there. Always," she said.
Cobb didn't ask questions about how much money she had and where it was being spent. Then she said he became controlling.
"He told me one time, 'You better start learning to live like a poor person,'" she said.
That's when Cobb's family started asking questions. She called her financial institution a number of times before learning that her accounts had been reduced to just a hew thousand dollars.
When confronted, Chase said it would take several weeks to get answers and cost $2,000.
She said Chase also made changes to her life insurance.
"He had changed the beneficiaries from my daughter and son to him and his wife," Cobb said.
Since reporting the theft last January, Cobb has had to apply for food stamps, heating assistance and she almost lost her home.
"People have to know, I guess you can't trust anybody," she said.
Portland police released a statement on Friday after the sentencing: "We are pleased that the victim has received full compensation in the form of restitution and wish to thank the District Attorney's Office for all their hard work and dedication."
The department also credited Detective Kelly Gorham for for work in the case.
Full Article, Video & Source:
Portland woman details family friend's financial exploitation