Meadville Tribune

Local News

April 15, 2014

Franklin-area financial adviser accused of stealing more than $180K from 97-year-old

VERNON TOWNSHIP — An elderly Meadville woman’s financial adviser has been charged with stealing more than $180,000 worth of her money over a nearly three-year period.

David E.A. Seagren, 69, of 455 Wendy Way, Franklin, was arraigned Monday before Magisterial District Judge Michael Rossi on more than 50 felony charges filed by Meadville Police.

Seagren is accused of 22 counts each of theft by deception and theft by unlawful taking plus seven counts of forgery for allegedly taking a total of $183,786.86 from the 97-year-old woman’s two checking accounts.

Seagren has been the woman’s insurance agent and financial adviser, according to the arrest affidavit filed in the case.

At Monday’s arraignment, Seagren said he was a retired insurance agent.

Police allege the thefts occurred between February 2011 and December 2013. Police claim Seagren took $146,150 from a checking account the woman had at First United National Bank, and another $37,636.86 from a checking account the woman had at PNC Bank.

The case came to light after Seagren’s business partner in Franklin found copies of checks written to Seagren from the woman’s accounts in excess of $120,000, according to the arrest affidavit filed in the case. On Jan. 9 of this year, the business partner contacted an attorney claiming the payments to Seagren weren’t authorized by the woman, the affidavit said. The attorney then contacted Meadville Police on Jan. 10, according to the affidavit.

In an interview with police, the woman said Seagren has been her financial adviser for 30 years, but that she had never given Seagren permission to sign anything and she never agreed to pay Seagren any sum of money, according to the affidavit.

“Seagren was only her insurance agent and was never in charge of anything else,” according to the affidavit.

A review of bank records by Meadville detectives found Seagren had deposited into his own bank account various checks drawn from the woman’s two bank accounts, according to the affidavit. Those deposits totaled $51,786.86, according to the affidavit.

In a subsequent interview with police detectives, the woman said “Seagren told her he was paying her bills for her and that she had an idea that he was writing himself checks.”

The woman also told authorities “David Seagren did call her after the initial report to Active Aging and the police and said that he was not going to be taking any more money from her,” the affidavit said.

Active Aging Inc. of Meadville is the area’s nonprofit agency for senior citizens.

Following arraignment, Seagren was placed in the Crawford County jail in Saegertown in lieu of $50,000 bond. He faces a preliminary hearing on the charges on April 28 before Magisterial District Judge William Chisholm.

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com.

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