Dad squandered daughter’s $58,000 inheritance on car, flight for girlfriend, say deputies (FL)

A new car, new TV and flight tickets for his girlfriend were apparently more important than his own daughter’s future.

A man who splits his time between Nashville and Palm Beach County is accused of frittering away his daughter’s $58,000 inheritance from her late mother — who died in 2011.

Willie Edward Lockridge, 41, allegedly went on a shopping spree that was kickstarted when he intercepted a check mailed to his brother — the girl’s court-appointed plenary guardian.

According to a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office arrest report, Lockridge spent $28,088.14 on a 2007 Jaguar XK, $1,323 on a 54-inch plasma TV, and also spent the money on plane tickets for his girlfriend, shoes, jewelry and other items.

The girl’s mother died on Oct. 30, 2011, and left her daughter $58,866.61, the proceeds from a 401(K) employee stock ownership program from Costco, where the mother worked.

In April 2012, Lockridge’s brother Christopher was appointed plenary guardian of the girl, whose name and age were not released. That role meant he was the court-appointed guardian of her legal affairs.

On May 15, a check from the Costco retirement plan, administered by T. Rowe Price and payable to a specific guardianship account at Comerica Bank, was sent to Christopher Lockridge’s house in Lake Worth.

Willie Lockridge, the girl’s father, got to the check first, according to the arrest report.

Christopher and Willie Lockridge both went to a TD Bank and Christopher was able to open a checking and savings account in which to deposit the money — even though the conditions were that it only be deposited into a restricted Comerica bank account.

The clerk’s office said Willie managed to convince Christopher Lockridge to cash the check. He said he needed the money for his daughter, the arrest report said.

A Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office detective spoke with an official at TD Bank, who said the bank teller who allowed the Lockridge brothers to deposit the check made a mistake. The bank official said the check should never have been deposited and that “TD Bank would return the funds to T. Rowe Price for the breach of warranty,” the report stated.

When the detective spoke to Christopher Lockridge, he said he withdrew $28,088.14 via cashier’s check, which Willie allegedly used to buy a 2007 Jaguar on May 22, 2012.

On June 3, while Lockridge was in Tennessee, his apartment in the 1700 block of Fourth Avenue North in Lake Worth was burglarized — and the plasma TV was stolen, deputies said. Two days later he returned to Lake Worth.

By June 22, the TD Bank accounts were overdrawn.

Lockridge came under investigative scrutiny in August 2012. That’s when a tip was received by fraud auditors working in the Division of Inspector General in the Palm Beach County Clerk and Comptroller’s Office.

Lockridge was arrested Jan. 8 in Nashville and charged with larceny over $20,000 and fraud.

“This exemplifies how our Guardianship Fraud Program protects Palm Beach County‘s most vulnerable citizens,” said Clerk and Comptroller Sharon Bock in a statement, noting it was the first arrest since the launch of the Guardianship Fraud Hotline in 2011.

Lockridge was booked in at the Palm Beach County Jail on Friday and held in lieu of a $20,000 bond.

Attribution:

Dad squandered daughter’s $58,000 inheritance on car, flight for girlfriend, say deputies
Willie Edward Lockridge, 41, charged after allegedly spending daughter’s money
Brett Clarkson
January 29, 2013
Sun Sentinel
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/palm-beach/fl-guardianship-fraud-20130128,0,6504262.story

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