The estate of a deceased Kokomo veteran who thought he was helping a young man who scammed him out of around $135,000 was recently awarded four times that amount of money in restitution after winning a civil lawsuit.
During a motion for default judgement hearing Tuesday in Howard Superior Court 1, Judge William Menges ordered the defendants — a Kokomo mother and son pair named Patsy and Mario Liali — to pay $548,600 in restitution to the estate of Jim Carter, who passed away in 2015.
According to court records, the Lialis were also permanently banned from requesting or accepting any asset, property or money in excess of $100 from any person over 60 years of age unless that person notifies the Office of the Attorney General within one week of the receipt.
The pair must also provide the Office of the Attorney General with the number and address of that individual, as well as provide Tuesday’s judgement to any individuals over 60 years of age that would offer them assets or property in the future, court records noted.
Patsy Liali also incurred $10,000 worth of penalties payable to the State of Indiana for knowingly violating Indiana code, court records indicated.
Court records indicated that in 2013, Carter was working at the Kokomo City Plan Commission when he was approached by Patsy Liali and asked to provide money for her son Mario’s student loan expenses at Ivy Tech Community College.
Once Carter agreed to provide the money, the state claims that Mario himself also began to approach Carter with the same request.
According to court records, Carter’s payments ranged from $100 to $1,000 at a time.
And though Carter believed he was helping to pay for Mario’s education, the lawsuit notes that the young man had actually finished attending college the year before Carter even began giving him money.
The lawsuit went on to state that none of Carter’s payments went toward any “educational purpose or to pay for fees associated with student loans.” The Lialis instead just spent the money on themselves, court records indicated.
Furthermore, to ensure that Carter kept making payments, the Lialis provided him with fake emails from what they claimed were student loan providers and institutions, and those emails claimed that Mario was required to make payments of several hundred dollars or risk losing all of the money that had already been paid.
This went on 46 times over a two-year period, the lawsuit claims.
By the time Carter died on Sept. 30, 2015, he had made $134,655 in payments to the Liali family.