ShareThis Page

Manown waives hearing

| Friday, Nov. 22, 2013, 12:16 a.m.

A Rostraver Township woman will face charges in Washington County Court for allegedly bilking an elderly woman out of nearly $35,000.

Lesley Manown, 44, of 212 Pleasant Valley Blvd., waived her right to a preliminary hearing Thursday on felony charges of theft by deception and theft by unlawful taking.

She had been scheduled to appear in front of Magisterial District Judge Mark Wilson in Monongahela.

Washington County detectives said Manown was working as at the now-closed First Federal Savings Bank in Donora when she allegedly coaxed an 81-year-old victim to sign numerous slips and two checks to withdraw the money from the victim's bank accounts.

Washington County Chief Detective Jim McElhaney said Manown told the victim she would use the money to retain an attorney in an effort to recover a vehicle that had been repossessed.

In February 2012, the bank launched an internal audit of the victim's accounts, and Manown resigned from her position shortly after the audit.

According to McElhaney, Manown admitted during an Oct. 22 interview she used some of the money to pay bills and make shopping purchases while stating she gave some to a couple that had been denied to a loan at her bank.

Vittone and McElhaney confirmed that Manown paid the victim back, but could not say whether the restitution would figure into any potential plea deal.

Manown's history could affect sentencing guidelines should Vittone's office choose to make an offer, Vittone said.

In September 2012, Rostraver Township police accused Manown of taking more than $18,000 from the Rostraver Township Cheer Association's bank account.

Most of the charges were dropped under the terms of a plea agreement in which she pleaded guilty to access device fraud—use of another's device without authorization.

Manown was sentenced to a year of probation and was forbidden to have contact with the cheer organization.

Manown's attorney, Christopher Nichols, said he was not comfortable “discussing the particulars of the case.”

Vittone and McElhaney declined to disclose the victim's identity because the victim is still “shaken.”

The victim was available Thursday in case she was needed to testify, but remained inside a car outside Wilson's office.

Manown also remained inside a vehicle in the parking lot and never entered Wilson's office. She remains free after posting $5,000 unsecured bond.

Vittone said he expected Manown's case to be resolved in January.

Vittone said his office issued a press release to see if any other victims would come forward considering (Manown) was a manager at the bank.

Financial exploitation of the elderly is a common practice, but only one in 44 cases is being reported, according to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Task Force.

Vittone said the reasons for lack of reporting include cognitive changes in the elderly, the fact that they know and trust the perpetrator or simple embarrassment.

He called financial exploitation, “The No. 1 abuse we see in senior citizens,” and encouraged anyone suspecting such activity to contact McElhaney at 724-228-6917 or the Southwestern Pennsylvania Area Agency on Aging in Charleroi at 724-489-808 or 1-800-537-2424.

“What they'll do is take a report, send somebody out to check things and keep the name of the person calling in confidential … that's under state law,” Vittone said. “We do get a good many of these cases.”

Rick Bruni Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at or 724-684-2635.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.