LEWISBURG, W.Va. — A Greenbrier County CPA is in a lot of trouble after State Police alleged he helped himself to a pool of money which nobody knew about. Jeffrey Lewis, 58, of Rennick was the trustee of the estate of John K. Dawkins. He’s now charged with embezzlement and financial exploitation of the elderly.
“The financial institution discovered he had been writing himself checks out of a trust account where the funds were set up,” said State Police Sergeant Drew Pendleton.
Pendleton said the check writing plan was a red flag for the financial institution and they reported the incident. Dawkins is mentally and physically challenged, but his father John Dawkins was very wealthy and when he died left his fortune in three separate trusts. One trust of a million dollars was established to care for his son’s needs long term, the other two trusts were for Shriner’s Hospital and the Holloway Foundation.
“He got a windfall from the oil and gas revenue in Pennsylvania they didn’t know they owned the mineral rights to,” said Pendleton. “Roughly $2.7 million went into that trust in 2010 that nobody knew about. He (Lewis) began to siphon off that money to himself.”
Pendleton indicated in researching the mineral rights, attorneys for the oil and gas company discovered the son’s trust, identified Lewis as the trustee, and contacted him. However, Lewis never told anybody about the windfall, including Shriner’s Hospital and the Holloway Foundation who may also have been entitled to a portion of the money. John K. Dawkins was also unaware of the newfound money. The criminal complaint alleges Dawkins deliberately kept the news quiet in an attempt to funnel the money to himself.
“There’s a lot of things in play there, ” Pendleton said. “But at the end of the day, he shouldn’t have been writing himself checks in excess of $800,000.”