Elderly Mom Faces Foreclosure After Son Steals Savings


"This is a 52-year-old man – if he was a 16 or 17 year old, I would know everything in his room," says Mary Jo. "I trusted him."

While Mary Jo remained confident her son was handling her affairs, Mark was hitting the casinos, making online transfers, and pawning his mother and deceased father's jewelry.

"Our dad worked in the car business for over 46 years, and also sold turquoise jewelry," says Daniel. "He sold that and he also pawned my mom's car."

After the family confronted Mark in late 2009, Mary Jo's youngest son Daniel begin to sort through years of mail stashed in a garage, in trucks, trash bags, and boxes.

"The more I dug, the more stuff came out," says Daniel. "He's left-handed and everyone in our family is right-handed, so I discovered he was practicing my father and my mom's handwriting."

"Addicts really see it as borrowing versus stealing," says Whyte. "Once they win, they'll pay it all back. The only way you have to admit you lost is when you stop gambling – it requires persistence. There's not enough money in the world to overdose a problem gambler."

On Dec. 6 Mark was convicted of first degree theft by the Spokane Superior Court.

In a letter to the judge Mary Jo wrote: "I find this the second hardest thing I have done in my life and the first was bringing myself to bring all the charges against my son Mark B. English. But, he left me no choice. I still do not understand how and why he got this way or in this situation. Mark left me with $10 in the bank."

The judge gave him the maximum of 90 days for a first-time offender, and he must pay restitution of $137,000. But, the family believes he has taken more.

Despite the ruling the family says there been little they can do to save Mary Jo's home. The family has been unable to raise the $20,000 needed to keep PNC Mortgage from foreclosing, and the bank has been unwilling to make payment arrangements.

"I see their point of view but I don't understand why they can tell you to hang on and then they call and tell you that you have two and a half weeks," says Mary Jo.

PNC was unwilling to comment on this story.

Three days before Mark heads to jail, Mary Jo and Daniel, who moved in with his mother to assist her throughout the ordeal amid two layoffs and a divorce in the last two years, will be on the street.

"I have a credit report that went from over 730 to zero," says Mary Jo. "It's hard to find someone that will even rent to me."

And, through it all Mark has not offered the family an apology. In court, Mark stated, "I have no remorse and my brother is a liar."

Meanwhile, the family is building another case after learning Mark has stolen their dead father's identity numerous times for credit. "It's bad enough he took from her but he stole my father's identity and stole from his grandkids."

"I was raised to help out the family when they needed it," says Daniel. "I don't know where he got sidetracked to steal from the family when he needed it."

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