HARRISBURG – A former Bradford County attorney was arrested today following allegations that he mismanaged and stole $350,000 from an autistic man’s trust fund, which he had been appointed to administer following the death of the man’s father
Attorney General Linda Kelly identified the defendant as Jeffrey Osmond, 44, 172 Sharon Ave., Sayre, Bradford County. Osmond operated a law office in Towanda and was suspended by the state Supreme Court Disciplinary Board in June 2009.
According to the criminal complaint, in July 1998 Osmond prepared a will for Wendell Baker, which established a trust for his autistic son, who received limited state benefits from California.
Kelly said Osmond was appointed Executor of Baker’s estate following his April 2000 death and was required to pay his son a monthly income from the estate to help support additional expenses not covered by state benefits.
The charges state that Baker transferred nearly $331,000 from the estate of Wendell Baker to the Charles C. Baker Trust, and only spent $38,763 of that money for the support of Baker’s son.
According to the criminal complaint, Osmond used the remaining money for his own purposes and continued to charge the estate an executor fee of more than $15,000 and an attorney fee of more than $15,000.
Additionally, Kelly said that despite no provision in Baker’s will, Osmond paid his mother $10,000 of the estate monies.
Osmond is charged with one count of theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received, a third-degree felony punishable by up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
He was preliminarily arraigned before Wellsboro Magisterial District Judge Phillip Sweet and released on $250,000 unsecured bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 5, 2011 at 8:30 a.m.
He will be prosecuted in Tioga County by Senior Deputy Attorney General George Zaiser of the Attorney General’s Tax Crimes Unit.