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Couple set to be sentenced for cheating elderly Lower Swatara man out of $153,000

By Dan Miller

danmiller@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 9/11/19

A Swatara Township couple charged with cheating an 87-year-old Lower Swatara Township man out of $153,168 in money and assets over four years are to be sentenced in Dauphin County Court on Oct. …

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Couple set to be sentenced for cheating elderly Lower Swatara man out of $153,000

Posted

A Swatara Township couple charged with cheating an 87-year-old Lower Swatara Township man out of $153,168 in money and assets over four years are to be sentenced in Dauphin County Court on Oct. 16.

Chester Robert Garman III, 55, and his wife, Kathy Alice Garman, 63, both of the 6000 block of Hocker Drive, both pleaded guilty Sept. 3 to identical charges of one felony 2 count of theft by unlawful taking-moveable property, and one felony 3 count of access device issued to another who did not authorize use, according to online court documents.

Both are to be sentenced by President Judge Richard A. Lewis at 10 a.m. on Oct. 16.

The Oct. 12 arrest of the Garmans by Lower Swatara Township police prompted Dauphin County to hold a press conference to draw attention to elder abuse.

The Garman case was the fourth largest financial case involving elder abuse since 2004, when the county created a task force to combat elder abuse, County Commissioner George Hartwick said during the press conference.

According to arrest papers filed by township police, the thefts began in January 2013 when the Garmans made the victim — a family member, then 81 — sell his own home and move in with the Garmans, who at the time lived in a trailer park in Lower Swatara.

The victim told police that the Garmans took over his bank accounts and his credit and debit cards, and denied him access to his own cards.

Police said that the victim before moving in with the Garmans always paid his monthly credit card bill in full and never had a balance higher than $2,844. But less than a year after moving in with the Garmans, the card balance topped $10,000, police said.

The Garmans had gone on what police called a “shopping spree,” using the victim’s money and credit to make purchases at department stores, eat at restaurants and buy food from a grocery store, purchase alcohol and a firearm, make a car payment, and buy items online from Amazon.

After draining the victim’s checking account to $629 by October 2013, the Garmans according to police made the victim cash in 117 of his own bonds worth nearly $10,000, to cover the debt the Garmans had racked up.

By December 2016, the victim’s credit union account had free fallen to $50.64 — from $22,677.66 four years before. By then, the Garmans had moved the man out of their home and into an assisted living home.

By November 2017 the victim had less than $100 in his savings account. Police said the Garmans stole $141,640.06 from the victim’s bank accounts over the period.

Counting the outstanding Discover card balance, police determined the Garmans had fleeced the victim for a total of $153,168.83 from 2013 to 2017.