Ross man charged with taking more than $670,000 from trust
A frail, elderly Ross man has physical limitations but understands that he's facing seven felony and misdemeanor charges connected with his handling of his late sister's trust, the man's lawyer said Wednesday.
Byron B. Chadderdon, 85, stole more than $670,000 from the trust between 2005 and 2012, leaving it with about $80,000 although the bulk of it was supposed to go to his nephew and grandnephew upon Chadderdon's death, prosecutors say.
Chadderdon said during the investigation that he had the right to spend the money, according to an affidavit filed Wednesday by Detective Kevin Flanigan of the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office.
Rebecca Auld, Chadderdon's lawyer, said he still believes that.
“My client is adamant about his innocence,” she said.
Chadderdon and Flanigan declined comment after Magisterial District Judge Richard Opiela of West View arraigned Chadderdon and released him on a $100,000 unsecured bond.
Chadderdon told Opiela that he understood that the state has charged him with serious crimes and he isn't supposed to touch the trust until the charges are resolved.
Opiela said he shouldn't even attempt to contact trust officials at the bank holding the account.
“No contact whatsoever. Forget it exists,” he said.
Prosecutors have charged Chadderdon with seven counts of theft, misapplication of the trust and receiving stolen property.
Chadderdon is the executor of a trust set up by his late sister, Ora Jean C. Davis, in Hughes County, S.D., Flanigan's affidavit says.
He and two other relatives are supposed to receive only the interest from the account during Chadderdon's life, and the other two beneficiaries, a nephew and grandnephew, are supposed to divide the trust's assets after Chadderdon's death, the affidavit says.
Instead, Chadderdon withdrew money from the principal over the years, the affidavit says. He also cashed in two tax refunds that should have gone to the trust and didn't provide the trust accountant with documents that would have shown he was transferring money to a personal account, the affidavit says.
Chadderdon's nephew, Robert H. Nelson Jr. of New York, discovered the alleged thefts when his uncle was hospitalized in June and Nelson came to Pittsburgh to see him.
His uncle asked him to retrieve a phone number from his house and, during the search for the phone number, Nelson came across the trust account documents, the affidavit says.
Auld said she hasn't seen the trust documents and other evidence and couldn't comment.
Opiela scheduled Chadderdon's preliminary hearing for Wednesday.
Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-325-4301 or firstname.lastname@example.org.