A 48-year-old Scottsbluff man has been arrested after being accused of taking more than $250,000 of his aunt’s money for his own personal use.
Barry Neal is charged with a Class 3A Felony charge of Abuse of a Vulnerable Adult.
Court documents say that in 2017, the 69-year-old victim’s 91-year-old father passed away, and she was awarded to be the personal representative of the estate. The woman told NSP investigators she was overwhelmed with the legal aspects of the estate. Her nephew, Barry Neal, told her that if she received any inheritance she could lose all of her benefits, and she signed over Neal to be the personal representative of the estate.
The victim said she did not receive any money from her father’s estate and had no idea how much money was in the estate, or if there was a will.
Neal reportedly moved his aunt into an apartment at the Morrill Manner, and he had obtained Power of Attorney for her as well. She claims that she has no access to her $787 monthly Social Security income or her $192 monthly SNAP food benefits.
She advised that Neal would not allow her to eat meals at the Manner, and would bring groceries to her apartment approximately once a week. Neal also reportedly installed a surveillance camera in the apartment to check on her at any time to make sure she wasn’t misbehaving.
Investigators obtained a subpoena for the financial documents for estate, and discovered that $271,568.33 was received from the estate when the account was opened in April of 2017. Eighteen months later, the associated accounts were almost completely depleted.
Further investigation revealed that the majority of money that was spent from the estate was going to Barry Neal’s own personal interest. The 69-year-old victim does not have an automobile, but transactions show that more than $55,000 went to auto dealers, used car dealers, mechanics, and auto part stores.
Additional questionable expenses for airline tickets, out of state hotels, tattoo’s, purchases at Doctor John’s, and nail salons were also found.
Investigators also found a November, 2017 cash withdraw from the estate for $85,000, which is the exact figure Neal used to purchase his home in Scottsbluff.
The attorney for the estate told investigators in October, 2019 that there was no will on file for the estate, but the 69-year-old victim was entitled to the inheritance.
A warrant for Barry Neal’s arrest was issued on Tuesday, was served on Wednesday, and he will make his first appearance on the charge on Friday in Scotts Bluff County Court.