Wantagh man gets 5 years probation for stealing from vet with dementia

A Wantagh man entrusted to help Long Island's veterans admitted Thursday that he stole thousands of dollars from a 71-year-old veteran with dementia.

John Lynch, who dedicated his life to helping Long Island's veterans, will be spending the next five years on probation after pleading guilty to stealing thousands from the Huntington veteran.

Lynch is the former executive director of Suffolk County United Veterans, a Long Island group dedicated to helping former servicemen.

Lynch pleaded guilty to stealing $87,000 in cash from the man. He also admitted to getting that man to purchase a Porsche sports car for him.

"It's always disturbing when somebody steals from an elderly person who is having memory problems related to dementia or Alzheimer's disease. However, what makes this case more disturbing is the fact that this defendant was in a position of helping veterans. He ran an organization that was supposed to help veterans," said prosecutor Donna Planty.

The judge agreed to give Lynch five years' probation if he pays back the money he took and forfeits the car. If Lynch doesn't forfeit the car and pay the money back by his sentencing date of Sept. 15, the judge said he will sentence Lynch to actual prison time.

Suffolk County United Veterans says Lynch left the organization in 2013 and added it had nothing to do with the crime.

In a statement sent to News 12 Long Island, the organization says, "We hope for a resolution to this matter that will enable John to make any required restitution and enjoy the rest of his retirement years."


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