A York Township woman accused of stealing nearly a third of a million dollars from her elderly great-aunt over a several-year period is now facing felony charges.
Rita L. Wynegar, 52, of 431 Dartha Drive, remains free on $25,000 bail, charged with the third-degree felonies of theft by unlawful taking, theft by deception and two counts of forgery.
Investigators with the state Attorney General's Office filed the charges July 5 at the office of District Judge Scott Laird, according to court records. A preliminary hearing for Wynegar -- also known as Rita Keim-Wynegar -- is set for Aug. 2.
It was in April 2010 that the York County Area Agency on Aging notified state authorities that Lidia Coito was being financially exploited, according to charging documents.
Nearly evicted: The Agency on Aging began looking into Coito's finances when it learned she was about to be evicted from the Brunswick at Longstown for failing to pay what she owed the Springettsbury Township personal-care home, documents state.
Coito granted Wynegar, her great-niece, power of attorney in June 2002, authorities said. Initially, Wynegar had assistance from a local financial-consulting firm.
But Wynegar took full control of her aunt's finances in 2006, documents state, and in October of that year, Coito's money began to disappear.
Wynegar is accused of stealing $309,490.51 from Coito without the elderly woman's knowledge or consent, and also used Coito's condominium as collateral to obtain a $106,500 equity loan, authorities allege.
Checks forged? Documents state Wynegar forged checks from Coito's account to pay a landscaper who did work at Wynegar's home and a swimming-pool company that installed a pool there.
Wynegar withdrew money from Coito's bank account, cashed in Coito's certificates of deposit and misappropriated most of the roughly $80,000 received from the sale of Coito's Manchester Township condominium, documents allege.
Coito told investigators she never gave Wynegar permission to spend her money for Wynegar's personal use, according to charging documents, which state the thefts happened between October 2006 and April 2010.
Wynegar's Camp Hill-based defense attorney, Kenneth Raleigh, said he's advised his client not to speak to reporters.
"We're currently investigating the case and looking into the specific allegations," he said.
-- Staff writer Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.