Norton Man Stole VA Benefits from Elderly Father
NORTON — The Bristol County District Attorney's Office has announced that Anthony Schmitka, 58, of Norton, has been sentenced to serve 27 to 36 months in state prison.
Schmitka pleaded guilty in Fall River Superior Court on Friday to indictments charging him with two counts of larceny over $250 of a person older than 60 years of age. Schmitka was first charged in Attleboro District Court in April of 2014 with various financial crimes related to cash thefts totaling roughly $110,000 from his elderly veteran father.
On the date of his jury trial in March of 2016, Schmitka did not show up. He then spent the following three years as a fugitive from justice, making his way onto the Bristol County Most Wanted Fugitives List until his arrest in March of 2019.
According to a press release, the District Attorney's Office says that in February of 2013, the victim received a retroactive benefits check for more than $110,000 from the Department of Veteran Affairs. Over the course of the next year, Schmitka was alleged to have stolen the money by using a portion of it to play the lottery and gamble at a local casino.
In February of 2014, District Attorney Tom Quinn, with members of his State Police Unit and police chiefs from throughout Bristol County, announced the creation of the Bristol County Most Wanted Fugitives List and a new anonymous tip program during a press conference held in Westport. During that same conference, Schmitka's name and photograph were released to the public in hopes that tips and new leads would surface regarding his whereabouts. Not long after, Norton Police received a tip stating Schmitka was in hiding in Vermont.
This information was passed along to the District Attorney's State Police Unit. With the help of US Marshals, investigators were able to take Schmitka into custody in Woodstock Vermont.
“I am very pleased the defendant was held accountable for stealing more than $100,000 from his elderly father. Not only did the defendant betray his father’s trust, but he also defaulted from court and fled to Vermont, where he lived off of government assistance. The money that he stole was from the Department of Veterans Affairs and was based on the victim’s military service, which makes the defendant’s conduct particularly ‘unconscionable,” District Attorney Quinn said. “After being put on the Bristol County Most Wanted Fugitives List, he was tracked down and apprehended in Vermont. We will continue to aggressively pursue people who abuse and defraud our elderly, and track down fugitives who are trying to evade prosecution for their serious crimes.”