Court-Appointed Guardians Accused of Stealing Over $1M From 100 Incapacitated Victims - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Court-Appointed Guardians Accused of Stealing Over $1M From 100 Incapacitated Victims

"Instead of simply doing their job, they cruelly embezzled over one million dollars from over 100 incapacitated individuals."

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Court-Appointed Guardians Accused of Stealing Over $1M From 100 Incapacitated Victims
    Delaware County Courthouse
    L to R: Keith Collins, Carolyn Collins, Gloria Byars. See larger image here.

    What to Know

    • A husband, his wife and his sister-in-law are accused of stealing more than $1 million from 108 incapacitated victims.

    • Investigators say the suspects were court-appointed guardians who took advantage of vulnerable victims they were supposed to take care of.

    • The couple is accused of using the church they founded to funnel some of the stolen money.

    A Delaware County man, his wife and his sister-in-law are accused of using a shell company and their local church to steal over $1 million from more than 100 incapacitated people they were appointed by a court to take care of.

    Gloria Byars, 58, of Aldan, Pennsylvania, as well as 70-year-old Carolyn Collins and 59-year-old Keith Collins, both of Ridley Park, are charged with multiple counts of theft by unlawful taking, theft by deception, theft by receiving stolen property, theft by failure to make required disposition of funds and conspiracy.

    The charges come after a lengthy investigation that began in February 2017 when detectives with the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office met with a newly court-appointed guardian for a 94-year-old person who was incapacitated and living in a nursing home. A guardian is appointed by the court to manage life decisions for an incapacitated person.

    The new guardian had been appointed following a complaint from the 94-year-old’s nursing home that they were not receiving payments that were owed to them. Investigators determined that Pinnacle Guardian, a corporation whose managing partners were Carolyn Collins and her husband Keith Collins, was the initial guardian for the victim. However, in February 2017, Pinnacle Guardian was removed from all of the cases it supervised.

    Investigators reviewed the financial records of 25 incapacitated people who Pinnacle Guardian had represented and discovered evidence of numerous improper cash withdrawals and checks, officials said. The checks were written by Carolyn Collins and drawn on the back account of the 94-year-old victim without the required permission of the Orphan’s Court of Delaware County, according to investigators. Officials said approximately $33,256.38 was improperly withdrawn from the 94-year-old victim’s account between December 2015 and June 2017.

    As the investigation continued, officials determined Carolyn and Keith Collins had a total of $110,319.87 in unauthorized withdrawals from 18 different victims their company represented. The couple allegedly overbilled, logged inaccurate time entries and paid themselves without permission from the Court.

    Detectives also learned of another case involving Global Guardian, which was owned by Carolyn Collins’ sister Gloria Byars. Byars allegedly established a bank account in the name of ICU Records and Billing (ICURB) in 2012 and used it as a shell company to move stolen money from ward accounts to other shell business accounts. Carolyn and Keith Collins used the account to funnel stolen money as well and even sent some of it to a church they had founded and were pastors of in Trainer, Pennsylvania, investigators said.

    In all, the three suspects victimized 108 people throughout Philadelphia and its surrounding counties in Pennsylvania, stealing a total amount of $1,009,172.01, investigators said.

    “Gloria Byars, Keith Collins, and Carolyn Collins were entrusted to care for our most vulnerable elderly citizens. Instead of simply doing their job, they cruelly embezzled over one million dollars from over 100 incapacitated individuals,” District Attorney Kat Copeland said. “The impact of Byars’ and the Collins’ actions were far reaching, depleting significant amounts of monies from their wards from six different counties. To add insult to injury, Keith and Carolyn Collins, as pastors, used their church to help funnel the stolen money, betraying not only their duties as court appointed guardians but their duties as ministers of God."

    If you know anyone who may have been victimized by the three suspects, please call Detective Edward Rosen at 610-891-4851.