exposing the dark side of adoption
Register Log in

Suburban Chiropractor, Wife Surrender Downtown In DA Probe

Charges Say Pompas Spent Thousands From Kids' Trust Fund

PITTSBURGH -- For almost a year, the Allegheny County district attorney has been investigating whether money for a chiropractor's home in an upscale neighborhood and a vacation home came from money meant for two orphaned children.

On Friday morning, Dr. Daniel Pompa and his wife, Merily, surrendered at Municipal Court in downtown Pittsburgh. District Attorney Stephen Zappala said they were arraigned on charges of theft and misapplication of entrusted funds and conspiracy.

More than 100 pages of court documents outline purchases totaling nearly $1.4 million that the DA's office claims were made with trust fund money in the span of less than five years.

Some of the purchases were made at Saks Fifth Avenue and car dealerships, and some money was spent on luxury items for the Pompas' home near Seven Springs and on mortgages and campaign contributions, according to the affidavit.

"The conclusion that we reach is that they never had any intention of doing the right thing in favor of these kids, which is kind of sad," Zappala said.

The Pompas did not comment Friday, but their attorney disagreed with the DA.

"They adore those children," said the couple's lawyer, William Ward, "and I can tell you that it is their intention that every penny of that money that was used was intended for the benefit of the family."

The Pompas were being held on a recognizance bond, which essentially means they only had to give their signatures before they left the county jail. A date for their preliminary hearing has not been set yet.

Daniel Pompa has an office called Pompa Health Solutions on Lake Drive in Pine Township. His website says that he has been featured on television and radio and has been published.

Channel 4 Action News' Marcie Cipriani reported in November 2009 that the Pompas became guardians of 7-year-old twins after the kids' father, Leslie Young, killed the mother, Lisa Young, and then himself at the family's home near Sarasota, Fla.

The Pompas were given custody of the youngsters and a $1 million trust fund to maintain until the twins turn 30. Six years after the fund was established, the $1 million had dropped below $250,000, according to court papers.

"Their lifestyle otherwise could not be supported by the income of the husband or wife," Zappala said.

According to the district attorney, the Pompas had a conversation about filing for bankruptcy at one time.

"If you want to make an argument that they're purchasing these high-end homes and that benefits the kids because they live in a high-end home, I'm not satisfied with that explanation," Zappala said.

The Pompas still have guardianship of the children, although the couple's assets were frozen by the DA's office during the investigation, which began with a tip from an informant.

2010 Oct 22