ISLE OF WIGHT, Va. – A former Virginia school board member faces possible jail time after allegedly swindling a senior citizen and family friend out of $200,000.
Kent Hildebrand resigned as chairman of the Isle of Wight County School Board in March amid an investigation into allegations he stole from 80-year-old Carol Jackson, who lived in the Red Oaks Mobile Community Hildebrand managed, ABC 13 reports.
Hildebrand was arrested Monday on 17 felony charges including grand larceny, identity theft and credit card fraud.
“I am hurt because I have never had anybody to that type of trick and I’ve heard of a lot of tricks in the service. But this one really hurt because I had gotten to know him I thought, for several years,” Jackson told NewsChannel 3.
A police warrant alleges Hildebrand used the money to pay his own mortgage, and his family’s cell phone bills.
Jackson’s daughter, Ruth Snow, told ABC 13 her mother was friends with Hildebrand’s parents and he gained her trust through that relationship. She said Hildebrand offered to help her mother with her finances about seven years ago.
“She didn’t want to believe it, because she trusted him so much,” Snow said. “She’s not a material person. I think that’s what made it so easy for Kent to get the money.”
Snow said she noticed something wasn’t right with her mother’s account in December, but it took her several months to convince Jackson to look into the problem. The two eventually went to the bank and realized Jackson’s account was virtually tapped out.
“After we got everything straight and changed checking and savings accounts over into a different thing, she had $45 in her savings. That was it,” she told ABC 13.
Snow alleges Hildebrand put her mother’s trailer title in his daughter’s name and at one point listed himself as the beneficiary on Jackson’s life insurance, among other things.
“He used her credit card. We’re responsible for paying that off,” Snow said. “She never even had a credit card.”
According to NewsChannel 3, “During the course of the investigation, there was no evidence found that any of the transactions in question involved school funds in any way.” There was also no evidence Hildebrand had his hands in other seniors’ accounts.
Snow said her main concern is recovering Jackson’s stolen funds.
“To me, as long as she gets her money back, I don’t care,” she told ABC 13. “His jail time is a bonus, because I just want her get what belongs to her back.”
Jackson, however, said she would take matters into her own hands, if she could.
“It’s a good thing I’m disabled in some way because I would go after him if I hadn’t been because I used to be a tomboy,” Jackson told NewsChannel 3.