BENNINGTON -- A local man pleaded guilty in U.S District Court on Tuesday to mishandling $171,000 of an estate he maintained.
Robert Baker, 43, of Bennington, pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and was released on conditions by District Judge Gavin Murtha. Baker is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 7. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and not more than a $250,000 fine, according to a statement released by the United States Attorney District of Vermont office.
According to documents filed with the District Court, Baker was appointed in August 2011 to be the special administrator for the estate of Nada Ledinko who died the month before. The appointment was made by Bennington Superior Court Probate Division and made Baker responsible for the estate until another administrator could be named.
According to filings made by federal prosecutors, between Sept. 1, 2011, and Jan. 6, 2012, Baker took money from the estate and deposited it into private his account at Citizens Bank. He is accused of electronically transferring $81,628 of it to a personal brokerage account, and writing four checks totaling $30,000.
In April, Baker's attorney David F. Silver, said his client has been cooperative with authorities and is working to fully restore the funds.
-- Keith Whitcomb Jr.