Newport man pleads not guilty to wire fraud

in Newport

NEWPORT — Dennis Crawford, 47, of Newport, pled not guilty last Friday in U.S. District Court in Burlington to a charge of wire fraud.

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The judge released Crawford on conditions pending trial, which has not been scheduled.

According to the indictment and other court records, in April 2015, Crawford was appointed power-of-attorney for his elderly step-father. Under the terms of the power-of-attorney, Crawford was permitted to make financial decisions on his step-father’s behalf.

After acquiring the power-of-attorney, Crawford placed his name on bank accounts his step-father held. According to court records, between June and August 2015, Crawford transferred approximately $200,000 from his step-father’s bank accounts to accounts controlled only by Crawford.

Crawford allegedly used much of this money to buy several vehicles for himself and family members, as well as furniture and other household items.

In August 2015, the Vermont State Police learned Crawford may have been abusing his step-father and started an investigation. Crawford’s power-of-attorney was revoked, and in November 2015, Crawford was charged in state court with financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult.

The state charge was dismissed when the federal grand jury returned its indictment.

If convicted, Crawford faces up to 20 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000. The actual sentence would be determined with reference to federal sentencing guidelines.

The case was investigated by the Vermont State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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