CENTER HARBOR — A local man is charged with theft by unauthorized taking for allegedly taking control of nearly $750,000 belonging to his terminally ill father, Clifford Fitzferald Jr..
The New Hampshire Attorney General's has charged Keith C. Fitzgerald, 50, of 166 Follett Road, Center Harbor, with a felony theft charge and alleges that he misused his power of attorney status to transfer the funds to multiple investment accounts.
Fitzgerald entered no plea to the charges in 4th Circuit District Laconia Division District Court on September 18 and waived a probable cause hearing on the charges. He was released on $10,000 personal recognizance bail and signed a waiver of extradition which allows a defendant to be brought back to the state without further court hearings should they leave the state.
An affidavit filed by Peter Favreau, a N.H. Department of Justice investigator, says that the criminal charges were brought after the N.H. Attorney General's Office received information that Fitzgerald had stolen some of his father's assets.
In January of 2010 the elder Fitzgerald, then living in Florida, was brought to Memorial Sloan Kettenring Hospital in New York, where he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. His wife, Ingrid, who was responsible for the management of his financial affairs died in April of 2010.
That same month the elder Fitzgerald executed a statutory power of attorney document naming Keith as his primary agent and the following month executed a Florida durable power of attorney document naming Keith and Clifford Fitzgerald III, Keith's brother, as co-attorneys.
The New York document prohibited Keith Fitzgerald from making major gifts or transfers of property to himself or anyone else and named Clifford Fitzgerald III as monitor who was to provide a record of all transactions made or done on behalf of his father by his brother.
The Florida document, which was issued the same day that the elder Fitzgerald filed a will that equally divided his estate among his children, also barred both brothers from distributing his assets to discharge their own personal obligations. The elder Fitzgerald died on September 15, 2010.
The affidavit says that Keith Fitzgerald was already accessing his father's $1.4 million in assets of May of 2010 and transferred $1 million to a Wells Fargo account and then established multiple accounts, unknown to his father, and had the reports sent to his own address in Center Harbor, and listed his father's address as 89 Tuttle Road, a vacant lot owned by Fitzgerald Investments LLC. Keith Fitzgerald is listed as a managing member of Fitzgerald Investments, which had filed for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009 and had listed $570,000 in debts owed to its major creditors.
The largest creditor is listed as Richard Adams of Center Harbor, whom the affidavit says is a longtime friend of Keith Fitzgerald and was owed $175,000.
Investigators say that Adams and Fitzgerald had an arrangement in which money was borrowed from a $175,000 line of credit Adams had with Citizens Bank and that Adams loaned virtually all of the money to Fitzgerald, who signed a $200,000 promissory note which was registered with the Belknap County Registry of Deeds on March of 2010.
The investigators say that every month Fitzgerald made payments to Adams, who used the funds to reduce the money borrowed, and Fitzgerald issued a check for $125,000 on July 28, 2010 to pay off the balance of the debt.
Fitzgerald is represented by attorney Allison Ambrose of Laconia, while Assistant Attorney General Jesse O'Neill, who is assigned to the Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau. is prosecuting the case for the state.
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