Washington state authorities have accused two sons of best-selling true crime writer Ann Rule of theft and forgery, alleging they swindled their mother out of more than $100,000.
King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office charged Michael Rule, 51, with first-degree theft and forgery. His brother Andrew, 54, was charged with first-degree theft.
Both remain out of custody on their own recognizance, according to Dan Donohoe, a spokesperson for the prosecutor's office.
Since October of 2013, the once-prolific The New York Times best-selling author – best known for The Stranger Beside Me,
a book about her friendship with serial killer Ted Bundy – has required 24-hour, in-home care at her home in Normandy Park, Washington, after she broke her hip in a serious fall.
The author and mother of five, 84, “has been largely confined to a wheelchair” since then, according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE. “She is on oxygen all of the time.”
The report states that Rule suffers from “periods of extreme confusion” and is “unable to perform many activities of daily living without assistance.”
Authorities claim her two sons took advantage of her condition so they could forge checks from her bank account and demand more money than the $25,000 monthly salaries they were receiving from her.
Rule’s son Michael is accused of writing himself and his wife over $85,000 in checks from his mother’s bank account. Authorities say he would become “increasingly insistent that he needed the extra money to pay his mortgage and other expenses.”
Fits of Rage
“He would yell at his mother demanding money as she cowered in her wheelchair,” the document says. He became so angry once that “he screamed at her and threw a cell phone across the room, smashing it into pieces.”
According to the charging document, Rule allegedly discovered in February of 2015 that her signature was being forged on her checks: “The signature was clearly not Ann’s signature, and instead was virtually identical to that of Mike Rule.”
Ann allegedly confronted her son, who “admitted that he had forged the checks, and stated he shouldn’t have done it. He then said something like, ‘Remember, we talked about this?’ Ann Rule said that she didn’t remember that and did not give him permission to forge checks from her account,” the documents say.
In an interview, Rule alleged that her son “often goes into rages where he throws things across the room and sweeps a counter clean with his arm.”
Rule’s bookkeeper, Donna Anders, allegedly told authorities that Mike Rule would hide his mother’s bank statements from her. “Anders reports that Mike Rule would either not provide the statements to her at all, or provide statements that were missing pages of transactions,” the document says.
Second Son Accused
Andrew Rule, 54, was arrested on March 27 after police allege he violated a restraining order filed by his mother in January. "By every witness's account, Andy would pester and bully Ann relentlessly for money, sometimes threatening suicide, sometimes trying to make her feel guilty,
Andrew Rule, 54, was arrested on March 27 after police allege he violated a restraining order filed by his mother in January.
"By every witness's account, Andy would pester and bully Ann relentlessly for money, sometimes threatening suicide, sometimes trying to make her feel guilty,
sometimes screaming obscenities at her, until she would finally give in and write him a check. To put distance between her and Andy, Ann Rule arranged for him to pick up his salary checks from her attorney's office, but this did not stop the persistent financial harassment," the report states.
During an interview, Andrew Rule allegedly told police he "has battled with drug and gambling addictions for years, and that he used the money provided to him by his mother on gambling and strip clubs."
Authorities allege he bullied his mother into forking over $23,000.
Ann Rule could not be reached for comment. Michael and Andrew Rule also could not be reached for comment, but Andrew denied charges to a reporter with KIRO-TV", stating, "Basically, I used to have a gambling problem, but I don't anymore, and I have absolutely no idea why I was pulled in at the same time my brother was."
Both men will be arraigned in King County Superior Court on April 30.
READ THE COURT DOCUMENTS:
04/22/2015 | by Christine Pelisek | Source: people.com "True Crime Writer Ann Rule's Sons Charged with Forgery and Theft : People.com"