South Allegheny school board member and wife accused of stealing from teen

by: Jason Cato Updated:

A Port Vue teenager said Friday that he wants what is his, namely more than $50,000 authorities claim a South Allegheny School Board member and his wife stole from an account funded by the estate of the boy's deceased father.

“I may never get a dime back, but these people stole from me,” said Matthew Parker, 19. “It's sad. I don't know how they sleep at night.”

Allegheny County police on Sept. 12 charged Peter Miller, 63, and Karen Miller, 49, of Glassport with five counts of theft, fraud, conspiracy and misapplication of entrusted property. Four are felonies.

Preliminary hearings for the Millers are scheduled Oct. 22 before Magisterial District Judge Armand Martin in Glassport.

Messages left at the Millers' McKeesport repo business, American Recovery, and with their lawyer, Ryan Tutera, were not returned.

Laura Thomson, a spokeswoman for South Allegheny School District, said district officials weren't aware of the charges and declined to comment.

Parker's father committed suicide in 2000, when his son began receiving monthly Social Security benefits that were directly deposited at Huntington Bank in McKeesport, states a criminal complaint filed in the case.

The Millers' son befriended Parker in 2006, when he was 12 and living with his grandparents and mother, the complaint states. Parker later moved in with the Millers, who gained permanent guardianship of him in 2010.

A family court judge at the time ruled their responsibilities included “receiving and managing his Social Security Survivors Benefits ... and performing all other financial duties.”

When Parker's grandparents relinquished control of his bank account in November 2011, it contained $32,870.74, the complaint states. The monthly Social Security payments totaled $1,620 in 2011, and increased to $1,678 in 2012.

The account should have accrued to about $71,000, a county police investigation determined. When Parker moved out of the Millers' house in October 2012, the account contained $15,215.98.

“I was like a mushroom,” he said. “I was in the dark.”

Investigators accused the Millers of using money from Parker's account to pay for personal and business expenses. In addition to the property-recovery business, the Millers also owned a go-cart track and racing team, the complaint states.

Among the unauthorized charges on the account from January 2011 to November 2012 were:

• $14,000 to Peter Miller

• $5,000 in cash

• $15,637 in Sam's Club charges

• More than $6,700 in utilities and cable payments

Parker also claims the Millers bought a 2009 Toyota Tundra pickup with his money and issued him checks from the account for work he did at American Recovery.

“They paid me with my own money,” he said.

Records show Parker in February contacted Port Vue police Chief Bryan Myers, who referred the case to county police.

This article was written by Channel 11’s news exchange partners at TribLIVE.