Woman Gambled Away Stepson's Inheritance, Police Say

A Levittown woman faces three felony charges stemming from her alleged theft of a $156,000 life insurance payout.

A Levittown woman faces three felony charges stemming from her alleged theft of a $156,000 life insurance payout.
A Levittown woman faces three felony charges stemming from her alleged theft of a $156,000 life insurance payout.
A Levittown woman who allegedly forged her stepson's signature on an insurance check, then gambled—and lost—the bulk of the $156,000 payout at Parx Casino, has been ordered to stand trial, according to 6ABC.

Eleanor Leistrum, 48, of the 50 block of Macintosh Road, was arrested and charged on Sept. 24 with felony counts of forgery, access device fraud and theft by unlawful taking, according to court documents.

Police allege Leistrum forged the signature of her stepson, Angelo Popovsky, on a $156,209.10 life insurance check that she received on his behalf after the July 15, 2010 death of his father. 

At the time of Steven Popovsky's death, Angelo—the policy's sole beneficiary—was 16, according to court records. In September 2010, MetLife Insurance set up a "Total Care" for Angelo until he turned 18, according to court documents.

On March 20, 2012, Angelo turned 18 and a letter was sent to MetLife requesting the funds be distributed. Police said the letter's contents have not been made available, but it is "suspected" that Leistrum sent it.

Before the insurance check was issued, Leistrum, on March 23, 2012, opened a joint checking and savings account at TruMark Financial in Trevose, according to court documents. The account lists Angelo Popovsky and Eleanor Popovsky, Leistrum's name at the time, police said. 

Angelo was "unaware" of these accounts being opened and never gave his stepmother permission to open them, according to the police criminal complaint. Further, he did not know about the insurance check until after Leistrum allegedly spent the money, police said. 

On April 29, 2012, a MetLife insurance check for $156,209.10 was deposited. Of that, $6,209.10 was deposited into the joint savings account and $150,000 was deposited into the checking account, according to court records. The bank placed a 10-day hold on the check. 

On May 9, 2012, police said a withdrawal was made transferring $150,000 from the joint checking account to Eleanor Popovsky's personal TruMark account. In June 2012, two withdraws were made from the joint savings account, leaving the account balance at zero, according to court documents. 

Angelo was made aware of the insurance money and the bank accounts after running into an acquaintance who police said had a "falling out" with his stepmother and reportedly told him about Leistrum's alleged scheme. 

When she was questioned on July 25, Leistrum admitted opening the bank accounts and forging her stepson's name on the insurance check before depositing it into the accounts, police said. She told police she gambled and lost $100,000 of the insurance money at Parx Casino in Bensalem within six months and spent the rest of the money on bills and expenses, according to court documents. 

Leistrum remains free on $100,000 unsecured bail. She awaits a formal arraignment in Bucks County Court on Jan. 3. 


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