Former Shelter Island Justice Pleads Guilty to Identity Theft

Katherine Pope pleads guilty to fourth-degree identity theft; her husband pleads to fourth-degree grand larceny in case of alleged theft of a million dollars from 89-year-old Water Mill woman.

Katherine Pope, who served as from 1998 to 2002, pleaded guilty to fourth-degree identity theft, a misdemeanor, and her husband, Wayne Pope, pleaded guilty to fourth degree grand larceny, a felony, for stealing more than a million dollars from an 89-year-old Water Mill woman suffering from dementia.

The plea occurred before Judge Stephen Braslow on Nov. 15 in the Suffolk County Supreme Court in Riverhead, according to a statement from the Suffolk County district attorney's office. The first day of the trial took place in Riverhead on Oct. 25.

The Popes stole the money from the victim, Mary Abbot Estabrook, over a period of four years, according to the district attorney's office. Mr. Pope had worked as a handyman for Estabrook and had allegedly obtained power of attorney from her, then used that power to write checks to benefit himself.

Estabrook died on July 4, 2009 at the age of 89. The couple will be sentenced by Judge Braslow on Jan. 10, 2012.

Claudia Karabaic Sargent November 23, 2011 at 02:42 PM
How is facilitating the theft of a million dollars from a dementia patient a misdemeanor? Even as a plea bargain? I sincerely hope that total restitution to Ms. Estabrook's estate is part of the sentencing. This is an unconscionable breach of personal trust and public trust by a public servant. SHAME ON THEM, and on anyone in their circle who knew about this and did NOTHING.
unconcerned citizen November 24, 2011 at 12:11 AM
to Claudia like i said earlier gotta love our system its screwd up to say the least she was a former town justice but still as i'm sure your aware they take care of their own as if a private cl
just sayin November 26, 2011 at 05:12 PM
the attorney gets a misdemeanor and the handyman the felony. seems to be backwards to me. Was he the brains of the operation....
Jaguar-Guy December 01, 2011 at 12:30 PM
Crooks !!! How horrible. People, who fraudulently obtained fiduciary rights, should be sentenced as harshly as possible, and the DA and Judege accepting this plea-deal should be ashamed. The decedent, Ms. Easterbrook, obviously didn't have much contact with family, or it wouldn't have been easily stolen and would have been challenged and investigated earlier. And this "woman" was a JUDGE?? And she gets a slap on the wrist??!!
John Carway January 17, 2012 at 02:42 PM
I don't know the full background of this case,but one thing to be remembered about plea bargaining is the reason behind a "good deal" for the defendants. Often, it is not just to save the People the cost of a trial, but because the DA is not certain they have the evidence necessary to sustain a conviction if they went to trial on the highest charges. It is one thing to "know" someone did a crime. It's something else to be able to prove it to a jury. That being said, it seems odd that some sort of restitution was not made a condition of probation.


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