WEST CHESTER In the middle of her trial on theft charges, a former Phoenixville woman pleaded guilty to having hoodwinked her aged aunt into taking out a mortgage on the home she had lived in for 50 years so the woman could finance a high-end lifestyle.
The defendant is accused of taking the $82,067 that her 81-year-old aunt had coming from a second mortgage on her Fifth Avenue home in Phoenixville and spending it on herself, leaving her aunt, who was suffering from dementia at the time, in danger of losing the home her husband had bought for the couple in 1956.
Ashton had told her aunt, that she would repay the money, which she needed for personal expenses, authorities said. But she never did. The house was foreclosed on and Voytowicz faced eviction until family members and attorneys stepped in and saved the home from being sold out from under her.
The aunt died in November 2008 after suffering a debilitating stroke. She was 84.
On Wednesday, the defendant pleaded guilty to charges of theft by deception, theft by unlawful taking, theft by failure to make required disposition of funds and receiving stolen property. The plea ended her trial on those charges, which had begun in Judge William P. Mahon’s courtroom Monday.
Mahon told the defendant her guilty plea simply hastened the inevitable.
“This would have been one of the swiftest deliberations any jury had ever gone through to convict you on these charges,” Mahon told the defendant, 57. He said he spoke out of his 11 years on the bench, as well as his reading of the jurors, who he sensed were ready to find her guilty.
Now, she faces sentencing on the charges. She will be held in Chester County Prison while a pre-sentencing report is completed.