Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Daughter found guilty of invading privacy of her Kennett Square millionaire father

WEST CHESTER >>The former owner of an art gallery in Kennett Square has been found guilty of illegally intruding into a conference between her aging father, a court-appointed attorney and psychologist trying to determine his competency by secretly videotaping it with a webcam.

The Common Pleads jury hearing the case against Megan Brooke O’Conner deliberated about three hours on Wednesday before returning to Judge Ann Marie Wheatcraft’s courtroom with guilty verdicts on charges of interception of communication, a violation of the state Wiretap Act, and criminal use of communications facility.

Both are third-degree felonies, and could be punishable by a prison term. Wheatcraft ordered a pre-sentence investigation into O’Connor’s background before setting a sentencing date later this year.

The prosecutors in the case, Assistant District Attorneys Vincent Cocco and Daniel Hollander, told the jury of seven women and five men who heard the two-day trial, that O’Connor had been upset that she was being excluded from the conference with her father, a millionaire who had been bankrolling what Cocco called “a lavish and extravagant lifestyle.”

The conference had been set up as part of a guardianship proceeding brought by O’Connor’s half-sister to determine whether O’Connor had been abusing her father’s finances.

“She had a lot to lose depending on the outcome” of that case, Cocco told the panel in his opening statement. “She had a lot at stake. She wanted to be in that room.”

O’Connor was found guilty of setting up a web camera in the room in her father’s garage apartment at their North Union Street home in January 2015 and watching and listening to the meeting between her father, David Umbs, guardianship attorney Nancy Pine, and psychologist Kenneth Carroll. The meeting was to have been confidential, but O’Connor “believes the rules don’t apply to her,” Cocco said.

In her defense, attorney Steve Jarmon said that O’Connor should not be found guilty of the offenses because the meeting was ultimately not a confidential matter. What was discussed between Ulms and the others was eventually part of the record in the guardianship hearing. Those involved had no “reasonable expectation” that it would remain private, as the law requires, he argued.

“She listened in, we concede that,” Jarmon said. “But does that make her guilty?”

Much of the two-day proceeding, which featured testimony from Ulms, Pine, and Carroll, as well as O’Connor’s ex-husband, Patrick O’Connor, concerned not the facts surrounding the wiretap violations, but the dispute over O’Connor’s handling of her father’s money and the objections by her half-sister Mary Ulms.

The two sides of the family are estranged, and O’Connor was given power of attorney over her father’s finances. With it, she took expensive trips, bought jewelry and other items, and ended up buying the Longwood Art Gallery, which closed last year. Mary Ulms brought suit against her, and Judge John Hall ended up appointing Pine as his guardian to oversee his finances.

David Ulms testified briefly, and told Jarmon that O’Connor had his permission to use his money as she saw fit. Jarmon had contended that O’Connor was his sole companion, and that his children from his third marriage did not pay him much attention.

The criminal charge she faced was brought against O’Connor by Kennett Officer Amanda Wenrich in May 2016.

According to a criminal complaint filed in the matter, Wenrich began investigating O’Connor in December 2015 when Pine contacted her about a possible wiretap violation. She said that she had scheduled a private meeting in January 2015 with Umbs and Carroll, a Swarthmore psychologist, to help determine what his mental capabilities were. There was no permission given to anyone to record the interview.

But in December 2015, 12 months after the meeting, she was contacted by Patrick O’Connor who told her he had witnessed his wife watching the meeting via a live feed through a computer camera.

Patrick O’Connor told Wenrich that he had come home the day of the meeting between Pine, Carroll, and Umbs to find his wife sitting with a laptop, “watching video and listening to conversations occurring … in her father’s garage apartment.” While doing so, the compliant states, she was speaking by phone to an attorney who was representing her in the civil action and said: “We are screwed. He can’t answer a single question.”

Patrick O’Connor told the investigator that he recognized the computer camera that O’Connor was using as a portable device that had been installed in their home’s basement to monitor the activity of her two sons. She could easily have moved it, he said, and viewed the video on her laptop.

Wenrich had O’Connor’s laptop seized, and Chester County Detective Joseph Walton was able to find images and data that showed the laptop had been hooked up to a computer camera on Jan. 30, 2015 between 8:35 a.m. and 9:29 a.m., when the meeting between Pine and Umbs took place.

Wenrich also learned that O’Connor had testified about the video recordings during a guardianship hearing in Orphans Court in December 2015, admitting that she was able to “see it live.” O’Connor also told the officer that she had watched the meeting, but “wouldn’t have done so if she had known it was illegal.”

Full Article & Source:
Daughter found guilty of invading privacy of her Kennett Square millionaire father

2 comments:

Betty said...

This case can go either way. I'm not convinced the daughter is a bad guy.

Anonymous said...

If the daughter was using her father’s money inappropriately, the court mafia probably will take more. Dr. Kenneth Carrol has stated in court that anything below a perfect score on his mental exam is a sign of cognitive impairment. He works in Montgomery County, PA also. In my opinion, he should be in jail. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-P0LJkmoubc