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Romeoville man gets 4 years for stealing mother-in-law’s identity, cash

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A Romeoville man was sentenced to more than 4 years in prison last week for stealing his elderly mother-in-law’s identity and taking over $175,000 from her investment and bank accounts.

John V. Knapp, 66, pleaded guilty last year to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois. On Friday, he was sentenced to 4 and a half years in prison and ordered to pay back $177,538.38 in restitution.

In a plea agreement, Knapp admitted to misappropriating the money from his mother-in-law in 2014 and 2015. prosecutors said. At the time, she was in her mid-90s and was at times living in either a hospital or a rehabilitation center.

During his sentencing, Knapp’s mother-in-law submitted a statement detailing his criminal conduct, which included stealing money her late husband had earned to take care of her, prosecutors said. Evidence further revealed that Knapp had misappropriated funds from her accounts on over 100 occasions.

Knapp assumed his mother-in-law’s identity during a series of phone calls to her investment company in which he fraudulently authorized over $129,000 in withdrawals from her investments, prosecutors said. During the four calls, Knapp fraudulently provided her identifying information, which included her address, birth date, phone number, investment account number and the last four digits of her Social Security number.

When the money was deposited into her mother-in-law’s bank account, Knapp caused checks to be made payable to him, prosecutors said.