Accused of taking money from the trust fund accounts of residents with disabilities in his group homes, Ernest M. Beal Jr. stood trial in Allen Superior Court.
Beal, 56, is chief operating officer of Your Friends and Neighbors, a company that runs group homes in Indiana and Georgia for adults with developmental impairments. Last June, he was charged with felony theft, accused of ordering company officials to take money from the clients’ trust funds to make payroll and other operating expenses.
The trust fund holds money from clients’ Social Security benefit checks, paychecks and other income and is meant to pay for the expenses and care of the residents, according to court documents.
Beal, a lawyer, is also pastor of Faith United Church of Christ in Fort Wayne.
During opening statements, Allen County Deputy Prosecutor Tim McCaulay said Beal “borrowed” from the clients multiple times over a 3 1/2 -year period. Beal and his ex-wife, the company’s chief executive officer, each drew a salary of more than $300,000, he said.
McCaulay characterized the case as one of arrogance, greed and the avoidance of truth.
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Pastor-Lawyer Facing Theft Trial, Accused of Raids on Trust Funds for Group Homes