Family and investigators have accused an ex-judge in Cook County, Illinois, of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from a World War II veteran.
Former Chicago judge Patricia Martin stole from Oscar Wilkerson when she was placed in charge of his finances, CBS Chicago reported Thursday. Martin is the niece of Wilkerson’s ex-wife, according to the Chicago Sun Times.
Martin gained power of attorney a month before she stepped down from the position, which meant she helped manage Wilkerson’s bank, 401k and social security accounts, CBS Chicago reported.
The ex-judge allegedly used at least $246,203.80 of the vet’s funds to purchase cryptocurrency in her own name without Wilkerson’s permission, maintaining exclusive control over the asset, CBS reported, citing a complaint filed by the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission.
The complaint alleges the Tuskegee airman’s account was emptied to the point that he didn’t pay his assisted living facility before his death. (RELATED: Miami Police Search For Woman Accused Of Drugging, Robbing Man Of Over $600,000 Worth Of Jewelry)
The vet’s attorney took Martin to court before Wilkerson died. In response to “the defendant’s continued unresponsiveness,” a judge granted more than $1.1 million to Wilkerson’s estate, according to CBS Chicago.
The disciplinary committee argued Martin did in fact respond to the lawsuit, saying she “admitted that she had wrongfully assumed control over [Wilkerson’s] property, that she had no authority to use [Wilkerson’s] funds for any purpose other than for his benefit, and that she had intentionally deprived [Wilkerson] of funds to which he was entitled,” the outlet reported.
Martin served as a presiding judge for over two decades, taking control of Wilkerson’s finances one month prior to her retirement in 2020, according to the Chicago Sun Times. During her career, she was an assistant public defender and a county law department judge. President Barack Obama appointed Martin to the Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities in 2013.
Wilkerson died Feb. 8 at age 96, the outlet reported in a separate article. He joined the Tuskegee Airmen after leaving his Chicago high school, being one of 300 surviving members to receive the Congressional Gold Medal by President George W. Bush in 2007. The Tuskegee Airmen was the first black aviation combat unit in the United States, paving the way for desegregation post-World War II.