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Charges dropped against Glassport couple accused of bilking teen

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By Jennifer R. Vertullo
Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, 4:56 a.m.
 

All charges have been withdrawn against a Glassport couple who were accused of mishandling the financial responsibility of a teen that lived in their home.

South Allegheny school director Peter Miller, 63, and his wife, Karen Miller, 49, were charged on Sept. 12 with theft, fraud, conspiracy and misapplication of entrusted property.

Those charges were recently withdrawn by Magisterial District Judge Armand A. Martin, who had postponed the case until a decision could be made on similar allegations in Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas Orphans Division.

“The Orphans Court found no wrongdoing from either Karen or Peter Miller,” said defense attorney Ryan Tutera, who represented the Millers in criminal court along with attorney Paul Boas.

“The (criminal) charges were withdrawn. Our clients are innocent people, who now can go about their business and carry on their good name.”

The Millers believe their name was tarnished, Tutera explained, when they were accused of stealing more than $50,000 from Matthew Parker, 19, of Port Vue.

“They felt like they were dragged through the mud by the media,” Tutera said. “When they were presumed innocent, they didn't feel like they were treated as though they were innocent.”

Media attention surrounded the case when Parker reported to Port Vue police that the Millers had stolen from an account funded by his late father's estate, and an investigation was taken over by Allegheny County police.

The Millers became Parker's permanent guardians in 2010, and they were responsible for managing his finances, including the monthly Social Security survivor benefit that he began receiving in 2000 because of his father's suicide.

The Millers took Parker into their home because he was a friend of their son. Parker's grandparents, with whom he lived before moving to the Millers' home, relinquished control of his bank account in November 2011.

Tutera described the Millers as “good citizens in their community.”

“They feel this was completely unnecessary and unfounded,” he said.

Jennifer R. Vertullo is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1956, or jvertullo@tribweb.com.

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