SEBRING A competency hearing has been set for John Sanders Haile, the Lake Placid attorney and accountant who is accused of defrauding a widow’s family out of her legacy.
Haile was released on bond after being arrested in April 2012, but then allegedly used fraudulent identification to forge five hot checks worth $4,500. He was returned to jail on Feb. 13, and further bond was not allowed.
Circuit Court Judge Angela Cowden ordered a mental competency hearing on June 5 to evaluate whether Haile understands the legal process and can aid in his own defense. His family has hired attorney John Kromholz, and because Haile has been declared indigent, he is also represented by Asst. Public Defender Robert Gray.
Haile, 57, was originally accused of diverting more than $100,000 in funds from a client's account. An arrest warrant was signed by Circuit Court Judge David Langford for Haile, of 220 Dal Hall Blvd.
An affidavit signed by the state attorney’s investigator, Steven R. Menge, said Nancy Lee Haberkamp, who died March 26, 2008, had hired Haile as her personal representative and trustee to handle her and transfer 96 percent of her estate to Constance Lee Collin and 4 percent to Haile’s daughter, Jenifer.
Instead, the affidavit said, Haile moved the proceeds – $131,271 – to a Morgan Stanley Smith Barney trust account.
"These funds were then spent by Haile on personal items that had no benefit to the trust or its beneficiary." They included trips to the Bahamas and Georgia, payments to the Lauderdale Marina, a car payment, liquor and food purchases, and a $45,000 business loan.
“Haile issued himself ($5,352) attorney fees from the trust,” the affidavit stated. Over the next three months, Haile took additional attorney fees and a final check for $29,525.
Haile opened another account on Oct. 29, 2010, reflecting the remaining balance of the Haberkamp Trust, the affidavit stated. The only successor listed on that account was Jenifer Haile, the affidavit said.
“There is a line for a second beneficiary, however, the line was dashed through and failed to indicate the 96 percent beneficiary Constance Collins,” the document said. She never received the inheritance.