Couple charged in trust fund theft
By Bobby Kerlik
A North Hills chiropractor and his wife spent lavishly on homes, furnishings and church donations while draining $1.4 million from a trust fund for twin orphans they adopted, Allegheny County prosecutors charged Friday.
Daniel Pompa, 44, and Merily Pompa, 42, turned themselves in at Pittsburgh Municipal Court on theft and other charges outlined in a 77-page affidavit that lists hundreds of transactions the prosecutor said were not for the children's benefit.
"This is just sad all the way around," said District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr., whose office spent nearly a year investigating the case. "We had to find some way to protect these kids."
The Pompas did not answer reporters' questions as they walked into the building. Daniel Pompa operates Pompa Health Solutions in Pine. Their attorney, William Ward, defended the couple.
"Dr. and Mrs. Pompa are loving and supportive parents. Every penny of that money that was used was intended for that family," said Ward. "Unfortunately, this case ended up in criminal court. We were making progress in Orphans' Court."
The Pompas were arraigned last night and released on non-monetary bond. Zappala said they retain custody of the children.
Olivia Phillips of Tarentum, the twins' grandmother, said the Pompas have not allowed her to speak to or see the children since May 2009. She wants a judge to transfer custody to her and their aunt.
"I'm so glad the Pompas are getting what they deserve. They've victimized our entire family for seven years," Phillips said. "I've been concerned for seven years how those children are being treated."
The Pompas gained guardianship and later adopted the children, now 14, after their father, Leslie Young, 50, fatally shot their mother, Lisa Young, 40, and himself in Florida in 2003. Lisa Young was Merily Pompa's cousin. The Pompas have three other children.
After the murder-suicide, a Florida judge ordered all of the Youngs' assets placed in a trust for the children, to be maintained until they turn 30, prosecutors said. Leslie Young owned a landscaping company in Sarasota, Fla., and the couple owned numerous properties, including in the Florida Keys.
Questions surrounding how the couple spent nearly $2 million from trust funds landed the case in Orphans' Court. Prosecutors said when the Pompas gained control of the trusts, the accounts held a little more than $2 million. When Judge Lawrence J. O'Toole froze the Pompas' accounts last year, about $88,000 remained, Zappala said.
The district attorney said he was not satisfied with their plan to repay the money and filed criminal charges.
According to the affidavit, the Pompas used money from the trust to move from their $260,000 home in Oakmont to a $760,000 home in Pine. They later upgraded to a $1.3 million Cranberry house. They used trust money to buy a home at Seven Springs in Champion for $984,000, where they live with all five children.
The Cranberry home and the home at Seven Springs are for sale in an effort to pay back the trust, although little equity exists in either, prosecutors said.
The Pompas generally withdrew $15,000 per month from the trusts and collected $3,000 per month in Social Security payments for the children, authorities said.
"They certainly didn't have that type of lifestyle before my daughter's death. The money was supposed to be for my daughter's children. There was no provision in Lisa's will to support them," Phillips said.
According to the affidavit, the Pompas used the children's money for items including a $24,000 Bose home theater system, a $1,000 donation to the Santorum Victory Committee and a $26,000 payment to Mercedes Benz Financial.
• More than $125,000 to North Way Christian Community
• $9,500 to Bobby Rahal Motorcar Co.
• $4,900 to Cranberry Township
• $73,000 to Eden Christian Academy
• $30,000 to airlines
• $49,000 to Saks Fifth Avenue
• $6,000 to Body by God
• $172.54 to Aladdin's Eatery
• $15,000 to Pompa Health Solutions
• $450 to Al's Ski Barn
• $35 to Image Nails
• $1,140 to Bed, Bath & Beyond
• $70 to The Capital Grille
• $1,665 to Tuscany Village Vacation Suites
• $6,300 for a dining room set