South Carolina

‘Con man’ stole $100K from 89-year-old neighbor, led cops on chase, SC prosecutor says

JOHN F. ANDERSON Eighth Circuit Solicitor's Office

A person described as a “con man” by a South Carolina prosecutor is going to prison for taking advantage of his 89-year-old neighbor.

Before John Fitzgerald Anderson was found guilty Wednesday, his actions challenged the Greenwood County woman’s family, as well as law enforcement, who tried to stop him from what the prosecutor called “stealing.”

The 53-year-old stole more than $100,000 from his neighbor, and even after her family had her “declared a vulnerable adult in November 2016,” he continued to withdraw money from bank accounts she and her late husband worked to fill throughout their lives, according to 8th Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo.

Even after the woman’s family had a trespass notice placed on Anderson, he continued to try and take her money, the solicitor’s office reported.

Stumbo’s office said banks were asked to notify her family if the 89-year-old woman showed up to a branch with Anderson, which they did in June 2017, after she withdrew $300 from her account at First Citizen’s Bank in Ware Shoals.

Law enforcement responded and attempted to pull over Anderson. Rather than stop, Anderson tried to continue to avoid facing consequences, the solicitor’s office reported.

Anderson tried to escape Greenwood County Sheriff’s deputies, and initiated a high-speed chase that ended when he crashed his vehicle, according to Stumbo, who said “Anderson was indicted for stealing $116,602 between Jan. 1, 2017 and June 28, 2017.”

The 89-year-old woman’s family said Anderson got her to give him a lot more money overall, telling the solicitor’s office that he coerced the woman into “giving him more than $250,000” before 2017.

According to Stumbo, Anderson was found guilty Wednesday of exploitation of a vulnerable adult, receiving stolen goods, failure to stop for blue light, driving under suspension third and subsequent offense, and trespass after notice.

Anderson was sentenced to 10 years in prison, the solicitor’s office reported.

“Only a despicable, wicked person would rob an elderly woman of her entire life’s savings,” Stumbo said in a news release. “John Anderson took advantage of a lady’s generosity for his own selfish gain. We are satisfied that justice has been served and Anderson will be a resident of our prison system for a long time.”

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