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Monsour founder's caregiver charged

A caregiver for one of four founding brothers of the now-defunct Monsour Medical Center was arraigned on Wednesday on charges she diverted $340,000 from the 95-year-old doctor's accounts into her personal accounts.

Maureen A. Becker, 58, of 521 Mountain View Road, Fairfield, was charged with theft and receiving stolen property in connection with funds that disappeared from the accounts of Dr. Robert Monsour between January 2008 and March 2011.

Becker diverted bank certificates, receipts from property sales and multiple Social Security checks that were supposed to go into Monsour's personal bank accounts into her own accounts, according to court documents filed by Westmoreland County detectives Frank Galilei and Will Brown.

The discrepancies were reported by Monsour's attorney, Dom Ciarimboli, after an audit, according to court documents.

Becker was hired in the mid-2000s to take care of the doctor at his estate along Freeman Road in Ligonier Township.

Becker's attorney, Tim Andrews, said his client is contemplating her next move.

"We're still in the process of discussing the case. She took care of him 24/7, and she maintains as do numerous other people that Ms. Becker was asked to take care of numerous financial issues for the doctor," Andrews said.

Monsour's family members allege that $167,000 the doctor received from the sale of 67 acres in July 2010 was "put into two savings certificates at 1st Summit Bank in Johnstown in the name of Robert Monsour In Trust For Maureen Becker," according to documents.

"It was later learned that the certificate account had been closed and put into (Becker's) name alone with the explanation from Maureen that Dr. Monsour wanted her, Maureen, to have as a gift," according to records.

"The two CDs she allegedly took were deposited in a bank with the approval of Dr. Monsour and specifically put in a trust by him for Ms. Becker to compensate for her years of devoted service. ... I don't understand how that can equate to stealing," Andrews said.

Galilei and Brown said they learned from Pat Donnelly, an agent with the inspector general's office of the Social Security Administration, that Becker deposited the doctor's government checks into a joint account bearing her name.

In her interviews with detectives, Becker told investigators the joint accounts were set up with Monsour's approval to maintain his estate.

When Galilei and Brown questioned Monsour, he denied any knowledge of the gift or joint accounts.

When the detectives asked Monsour about the money from the property sale, he told them it went into his personal accounts. When asked if he would have given it to Maureen Becker, the detectives said Monsour acted surprised.

"Absolutely not. Why would I do that?" Monsour replied, according to Galilei.

Monsour also denied knowledge of other purchases allegedly made by Becker from the joint account of a $30,000 truck titled in Becker's name or $10,000 for a snow plow, records show.

In recent years, Becker also had her pay increased from $300 a week to more than $800 weekly, the documents indicate.

Becker was released on signature bond pending a preliminary hearing March 2.

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