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Commonwealth v. McCullough

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

February 27, 2014

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, Appellee
v.
CHARLES P. MCCULLOUGH, Appellant

Argued October 22, 2013

As Corrected March 12, 2014.

Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Allegheny County, Criminal Division, No(s): CC 2009-100522. Before MACHEN, J.

Order affirmed. Jurisdiction relinquished.

Jon Pushinsky, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Michael W. Streily, Deputy District Attorney, Pittsburgh, for Commonwealth, appellee.

BEFORE: FORD ELLIOTT, P.J.E., PANELLA, J., and MUSMANNO, J.

Page 902

OPINION

PANELLA, J.

Appellant, Charles P. McCullough, appeals from the denial of his pre-trial motions to dismiss criminal charges, pursuant to this Court's grant of McCullough's pro se petition for review on May 23, 2012. After careful review, we affirm the trial court's pre-trial rulings.

Page 903

The Commonwealth has charged McCullough with 24 crimes [1] arising from his actions as an agent and co-trustee for Shirley Jordan, now deceased. Jordan was approximately 90 years old, a widow without any children, and living in a senior living center when she executed a springing power of attorney [2] in favor of McCullough. It is estimated that Jordan had assets of approximately fourteen million dollars at the time.

According to the Commonwealth, the condition precedent contained in the springing power of attorney was never met; however, McCullough began to act as Jordan's agent. Of most concern to this appeal, one action taken by McCullough as Jordan's agent was to open a trust funded by Jordan's assets. McCullough named himself as co-trustee with PNC Bank.

The Commonwealth alleges that after this point, McCullough intentionally obfuscated his roles as trustee and agent, creating confusion and concern for third-parties, including PNC. In this dual role, McCullough arranged for payments to his sister [3] to perform personal care services for Jordan. The Commonwealth alleges that these payments were for an hourly rate that far exceeded the rate for these types of services on the open market. Furthermore, McCullough arranged for a secret donation of $10,000 to a charity of which his family has a close connection. Finally, the ...


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