3 charged with embezzling money from over 100 senior citizens in Delaware County

MEDIA, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Three court-appointed guardians are accused of embezzling more than $1 million from those in their care. The Delaware County District Attorney's office charged 59-year-old Keith Collins, a pastor, his wife, 70-year-old Carolyn Collins, and 58-year-old Gloria Byars. All three face multiple felony counts of theft.

The suspects allegedly used a shell company and a local church to launder the stolen money. Authorities said there were more than 100 victims, all over the age of 60.

The three defendants were walked out of the Delaware County Courthouse Monday. Keith Collins was the only one who spoke and said, "These are allegations, that's all they are."

Action News went to the church he said he pastored, Church of the Overcomer, in Trainer, Pennsylvania. A man who identified himself as his brother was there, and said Collins had been helping the community for years.

"Helps people find homes, he's worked with people that no one else wants to work with, we believe these charges are false," said Andre Collins, who identified himself as Keith Collin's brother.

Delaware County Court District Attorney Katayoun Copeland spoke at a press conference Monday, outlining the steps authorities took to arrest and charge the three in the embezzlement scheme.

"They became trusted individuals in a system, and once you become a trusted individual in a system, sometimes a system doesn't pick up on issues," said Copeland.

Authorities were alerted to this scheme when a nursing home complained that they weren't receiving payments from a 94-year-old's legal guardian, who was listed under the care of "Pinnacle Guardian," which an investigation showed that Keith and Carolyn Collins were listed as managing partners of.

All three defendants are accused of using the money to live a lavish lifestyle, taking expensive vacations and buying expensive cars, and flaunting it on social media.

Keith and Carolyn Collins' bail has been set at $100,000 and Gloria Byars' bail has been set at $500,000.

Copeland said over $1 million cannot be recompensed.
Copyright © 2022 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.