A Warrington Township man was sentenced Wednesday for bilking an elderly Solebury Township man out of more than $650,000.
Robert R. Wootters, 56, was sentenced before Bucks County Court of Common Pleas Judge Charissa Liller at the Justice Center in Doylestown Borough to three to six years in state prison and a consecutive sentence of nine years of probation and ordered to pay half a million dollars in restitution to the victim.
Prior to being sentenced, Wootters entered a no contest plea to charges of theft by unlawful taking, theft by deception, receiving stolen property, financial exploitation of an older adult, access device fraud and deceptive business practices. He also pleaded guilty to theft by deception, theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received, receiving stolen property, tampering with public records or information, and tampering with records or identification on a Social Security disability claim in a second case.
For the other case, Wootters was sentenced to six years of probation and ordered to pay $45,759.50 in restitution to the Social Security Administration.
Wootters came to the attention of Solebury Township police in March 2021 when they received a tip from a concerned resident. The resident felt the 81-year-old man they knew was being swindled by Wootters.
Township Detective Cpl. Jonathan Koretzky and a representative of the Bucks County Area Agency on Aging met with the 81-year-old man at his Solebury Township home a few days after the allegation was filed.
The older man lived alone and had no relatives who could take care of him, authorities said.
The 81-year-old man said Wootters had been his caretaker for the previous few years, handling routine home upkeep, authorities said.
The 81-year-old man explained to the detective that every time Wootters asked for money, he writes him checks for the tasks he completes. The man claimed he did not keep track of how many checks he had written to Wootters and that he was unaware of the value of any of them, authorities said.
The 81-year-old man claimed he also paid Wootters to take care of him, but stated that since Wootters is rarely around to help him, it is he who goes to the grocery, cooks, and cleans. The man continued that he took his own medicine when he needed it, and hasn’t seen a doctor in a while, authorities said.
The 81-year-old man was eventually determined to have a serious neurocognitive problem, leaving him vulnerable to abuse because he was unable to handle his affairs, according to authorities.
Investigators opened the 81-year-old man’s checkbook and found Wootters had been issued checks totaling $10,000 a few days apart.
When questioned by a detective about why he gave Wootters so much cash in such a short period of time, the individual replied that it was the amount Wootters requested.
At one point, the elderly man who lived alone said he felt he was “taken advantage of by Wootters,” authorities said.
The man reported being confused about how much he paid Wootters. He also said the Warrington Township man never provided him with statements or bills, authorities said.
“The investigation included the review of the victim’s financial records, which indicated he issued $633,075 in checks to Wootters from April 22, 2017, to April 1, 2021. Additionally, the financial review showed Wootters used the victim’s debit card to make between $2,000 to $3,000 in monthly debits between December 2019 and July 2021,” the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
The statement added: “The victim’s financial records showed Wootters obtained between $650,000 and $700,000 between April 2017 and July 2021, the investigation concluded.”
Amid the probe by police, the 81-year-old man expressed surprise by how much money had been provided to Wootters.
The Bucks County Orphans Court appointed a professional guardian to assist the 81-year-old man with his care following the investigation.
As Solebury Township police and the Bucks County Detectives were probing the case, they learned Wootters filed records with the Social Security Administration to receive disability benefit payments. It was uncovered he was paid $45,759.50 during the time he was working for the victim, authorities said.
The Bucks County Area Agency on Aging and Assistant District Attorney Jose A. Perez worked the case with township police and county detectives.