Retired NJ police chief with $57K pension admits scamming elderly victim
GARWOOD — A former chief of police has admitted in a Pennsylvania court to scamming a 95-year-old woman out of almost $30,000.
According to the Bucks County District Attorney's Office, Robert Ryan admitted to scamming the man after he himself had been the victim of a "Jamaica based hoax and that his crimes were an attempt to recover his losses."
"He seems to be a very nice man. I never intended to hurt him," the district attorney's office quoted Ryan as saying. "I was just trying to get my money back. It was a very foolish mistake for me to make, being a former law enforcement officer."
Ryan was originally arrested in December 2016 when he went to a Wells Fargo Bank branch attempting to take $3,800 out of two accounts, according to the district attorney. Bank employees alerted authorities when they saw that more than $20,000 had been taken from the victim's account that month alone.
The district attorney's office said the victim told authorities he had been contacted by a man calling himself "James Holliday," who told him he had won $33 million in a lottery. He was told that a man would come to his house to collect money that would pay the necessary taxes before the prize could be claimed.
Following that initial phone call, authorities say Ryan went to the man's house on several occasions to pick up five separate checks. All had been made out to Ryan, who also endorsed the checks.
Claiming a series of strokes had compromised his judgement Ryan told authorities he did not know the identity of the people who had scammed him, and had given them "all but $1,000 of the money he received from the victim," according to the district attorney.
Ryan's law enforcement career spanned close to 30 years, according to the district attorney. His career ended in 2000 as chief of the department. According to state records he has a pension of $57,000 per year.
The former chief pleaded guilty to four counts of theft by deception and was sentenced to time served to 23 months and five years probation. Ryan has already spent five months in the Bucks County Correctional Facility, describing his time incarcerated as "horrendous," according to the district attorney.
In addition to jail time Ryan was also ordered to repay the victim's $28,900. The money will be repaid monthly in installments of no less than $200.
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Contact reporter Adam Hochron at 609-359-5326 or Adam.Hochron@townsquaremedia.com