AUGUSTA, Maine — A Minot man will serve 13 months in jail for stealing money from his brain-injured brother for whom he served as legal guardian and conservator.
John M. Look, 52, pleaded guilty April 29 to one count of Class B theft and one misdemeanor count of misuse of entrusted property, according to a release from Maine Attorney General Janet Mills.
After their mother died in 2008, Look became conservator and legal guardian for his brother, who suffered a brain injury in a motorcycle accident when he was a teenager, according to the release. Look’s brother lives in a treatment facility and receives federal and state benefits.
In addition, Look’s mother left a life insurance policy that benefitted his brother, and Look was the conservator of those funds, which paid out to a trust in his brother’s name in September 2011 and February 2012.
Between September 2011 and October 2012, Look deposited money from the trust into his own checking account for personal use, according to Mills. Upon discovery of the unreported income in 2012, benefits ceased to Look’s brother and the residential facility was not compensated for its services.
Justice Thomas D. Warren sentenced Look to six years, with all but 13 months suspended, and three years of probation for the felony charge, as well as six months in jail, to be served concurrently, for the misdemeanor. He is scheduled to begin serving the sentence 60 days from April 29.
Look also must pay $133,000 in restitution to his brother.
“When anyone is granted the power and authority to serve as the legal guardian of another person, they take on great responsibility to act in the best interest of that person,” Mills said in the release. “Having access to the finances of someone who cannot make decisions for themselves does not give you the right to spend that money as you please, let alone to use it to line your own pockets.”
The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General and was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Carrie Carney.