Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota said last week that a former Shelter Island Town Justice and her handyman husband have been indicted for allegedly stealing over one million dollars from an elderly East End resident who suffered from dementia. Attorney Katherine Pope and her husband, Wayne, 57, each face one count of grand larceny in the first degree, a felony, for the theft from Mary Abbot Estabrook’s fortune from February 2005 to April 2009; a period of time when the victim suffered from diminished mental capacity.
Katherine Pope, who was the Shelter Island Town Justice from 1998 to 2002, is also charged in the indictment with two counts of first degree identity theft, a felony. Pope allegedly presented herself as Estabrook during telephone stock transactions in 2006 during which more than 12,000 shares of the victim’s stocks were liquidated.
District Attorney Spota said the investigation “uncovered evidence that $750,000 of the proceeds from the stock sales ended up in Katherine Pope’s escrow account and was eventually used to purchase, for cash, a house in Vermont.”
Wayne Pope worked occasionally as a handyman in the victim’s Watermill residence. Estabrook died on July 4, 2009 at the age of 89.
Katherine Pope, who resides in Turnbridge, Vermont, and Wayne Pope, of Shelter Island Heights, pleaded not guilty at last weeks arraignment in Suffolk County court in Riverhead. Bail for Wayne Pope is $100,000 cash or $300,000 bond. Bail for Katherine Pope is $100,000 cash or $250,000 bond.