Freeburg couple plead guilty to defrauding elderly family member

Ronald Speiser, 81, and Jean Speiser, 81, of Freeburg, pled guilty on Aug. 6 in federal court to two felony charges after defrauding an elderly family member out of nearly $200,000. 

The Speisers were designated as the victim’s power of attorney and successor power of attorney in estate documents. In June 2018, they exercised their authority over the victim’s finances by opening a joint account for Ronald Speiser and the victim at Citizens Community Bank in Mascoutah, and depositing a check for over $250,000 after selling the victim’s home. Starting around December 2018, and continuing until at least June 2020, the Speisers abused their access to these funds by spending over $200,000 of the victim’s money without the victim’s knowledge or permission, and for purposes that did not benefit the victim. Their spending spree included over $50,000 in personal home renovations, paying over a year’s worth of personal credit card bills, purchasing a $29,000 camper and $23,000 truck, and making a down payment and thirteen mortgage payments on a second home.

For more on the Speisers, please see this week’s print edition.