Video: Dilley Sentenced To 2 Years For Stealing From Woman's Estate
Judge says Dilley is lying to himself and his family about what he did
William Dilley told Judge Michael Donnelly that he took full responsibility for his actions, but the judge didn't believe him and sentenced him to two years in prison.
Dilley, 67, of Mentor, had been convicted of theft, perjury and tampering with records for changing a dying woman's trust and becoming her sole beneficiary.
Initially, Betty Montgomery's $750,000 estate was supposed to go to three of her friends, Save-A-Pet and the Holy Cancer Family Home.
Dilley was sentenced for his crimes Tuesday morning in Cuyahoga Court of Common Pleas.
Dilley spoke in his own defense at the hearing. He claimed that he had only changed Montgomery's trust as a stop-gap measure and never intended to steal from her.
However, the judge did not believe him.
"You can't gloss over this with vague statements of 'I tried to do what Betty wanted,'" Donnelly said. "You tried to take the money for yourself."
Dilley worked as Montgomery's financial adviser. Before she passed away, she suffered from symptoms of moderate to advanced dementia.
When Dilley initially tried to get Montgomery to change her trust, the nurse -- a legally required witness -- became uncomfortable and asked for a social worker to join them. At that point, the notary public refused to continue.
Later Montgomery, who used to live in Solon, did change the wording on her trust to name Dilley the sole beneficiary. However, she did it without the necessary witness. Dilley would later claim there was a witness present, thus the perjury conviction.
Donnelly asked Dilley why, if he had Montgomery's best interests at heart, he lied about what he did to his employer. Dilley replied that he was concerned his employer would no longer let him have Montgomery as a client if he was also the beneficiary, and he wanted to stay her advisor because they were friends.
Donnelly said Dilley was not just lying to himself, he was lying to his family who has already retained an attorney for his appeal.
"Even they are being deceived by what you represent happened in this case," the judge said.
Special Prosecutor James Gutierrez suggested the judge send Dilley to prison for three years.
"He preyed on the most vulnerable people we have in this society besides kids, the elderly," Gutierrez said.
Then, he added, "This arrogance he has -- the righteous indignation he has -- thinking he could come in here and get away with it."
Meanwhile, Dilley's attorney, Thomas Shaughnessy, asked that he be granted community controle. Shaughnessy said that Dilley had no previous criminal record and had served the country as a U.S. Marine.