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Freeburg Couple Sentenced for Defrauding Elderly Family Member

Written by The Frontier Post

F.P. Report

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill: Ronald Speiser, 81, and Jean Speiser, 81, of Freeburg, Illinois, will spend

their  next  year  in  home  confinement  making  restitution  payments  after  defrauding  an 

elderly family member out of nearly $200,000. The Speisers pled guilty to two counts of fraud and

were sentenced on Thursday, November 18, 2021, in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis, Illinois.

According to Court documents, the Speisers were designated as the victim’s power of attorney and

successor power of attorney in the victim’s estate plan. In June 2018, the Speisers exercised their

authority  over  the  victim’s  finances  by  opening  an  account  at  Citizens  Community  Bank 

in Mascoutah, Illinois, and depositing a check for  over $250,000 after selling the victim’s home.

Starting around December 2018, and continuing until at least June 2020, the Speisers abused their

access  to  these  funds  by  spending  over  $200,000  of  the  victim’s  money  without  the 

victim’s knowledge or permission, and for purposes that did not benefit the victim. Their spending

spree included over $50,000 in personal home renovations, paying over a year’s worth of personal

credit card bills, purchasing a new camper and new truck, and making a down payment and thirteen

mortgage payments on a second home.

“The FBI recognizes that seniors can be a particularly vulnerable group,” said Special Agent in

Charge David Nanz.   “In this case, Ronald and Jean Speiser were in a position of trust, not only

as  power  of  attorney  but  as  a  family  member.  Rather  than  being  good  stewards  of  the

responsibilities entrusted to them, they chose to steal money and use it for their own personal

gain. The FBI will not hesitate to investigate those who victimize and take advantage of the

elderly citizens of our community.”

While on home confinement, the Speisers will be restricted to their residence except for religious

services, medical appointments, and other pre-approved activities. Their sentence also included an

additional year of supervised release after home confinement and paying full restitution to the

victim.  The  Speisers  paid  the  victim  an  initial  lump  sum  of  $119,000  as  part  of 

their  plea agreement. They will pay the remainder in monthly installments.

This case was brought as part of the Department of Justice’s Elder Fraud Initiative. Information

about the Department of Justice’s Elder Fraud Initiative is available at

www.justice.gov/elderjustice.

If you or someone you know is age 60 or older and has been a victim of financial fraud, help is

standing by at the National Elder Fraud Hotline: 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311). This U.S.

Department  of  Justice  hotline,  managed  by  the  Office  for  Victims  of  Crime,  is  staffed 

by experienced professionals who provide personalized support to callers by assessing the needs of

the victim, and identifying relevant next steps. Case managers will identify appropriate reporting

agencies, provide information to callers to assist them in reporting, connect callers directly with

appropriate agencies, and provide resources and referrals, on a case-by-case basis. Reporting is

the first step. Reporting can help authorities identify those who commit fraud and reporting

certain financial losses due to fraud as soon as possible can increase the likelihood of recovering

losses. The hotline is staffed 7 days a week from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. eastern time. English,

Spanish and other languages are available.

The case was investigated by Adult Protective Services, St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department,

and the Federal Bureau of Investigation – Springfield Division.

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