BEAVER (KDKA) — Lori Purnell of Ohioville, Beaver County, is accused of stealing the life savings — tens of thousands of dollars — from her in-laws, according to a criminal complaint filed by Brighton Township police and Beaver County detectives.

“All the independent assets they had gathered over the course of their marriage have been dissipated,” Beaver County District Attorney Anthony Berosh told KDKA’s Jon Delano.

Berosh says Purnell — who had power of attorney for her husband’s parents — used that power to steal just under $120,000 from James and Fleurette Sampson, residents of the Beaver Meadows, an assisted living home in Brighton.

“She had the power of attorney for the victims in this case and the basis of the allegations is that she used that money for her own benefit,” Berosh said.

Charged with three felony counts of theft, Purnell is accused of withdrawing cash from the Sampson bank account, including ATM withdrawals outside Mountaineer Casino and Wheeling Racetrack.

Purnell did not answer knocks on her door in Ohioville for comment.

Purnell’s mother-in-law discovered the theft when she tried to pay for her husband’s dental work.

“She wrote a check for that thinking the money was there, only to discover the check bounced,” said Berosh.
And Beaver Meadows says Purnell also stopped paying the monthly bills for the care of her in-laws.

What allegedly happened to the Sampsons, could easily happen to anyone’s loved ones, says the district attorney, unless you take special precautions.

Be careful who has your parents’ power of attorney.

“In the end, you’re placing trust in that person that holds that power of attorney,” warns Berosh.


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