A former Cranberry couple pleaded guilty today to stealing from their adopted children's trust fund to support a lavish lifestyle, said Allegheny County District Attorney spokesman Mike Manko.
Chiropractor Daniel Pompa, 46—who had a practice and wellness business in Wexford—and his wife Merily Pompa, 44, were charged in October 2010 with looting the trust funds of the twins, who were orphaned in 2003 when their biological father killed their biological mother and then committed suicide.
Following the murder-suicide in Florida, custody of the children was awarded to the Pompas. Merily Pompa is a cousin of the children's mother, Lisa Phillips.
The Pompas, who eventually adopted the children—and remain their adoptive parents today—began to systematically spend $1.4 million from a large trust fund that had been set up for the children after they lost their parents, Manko said.
Bob Stewart, attorney for the Pompas, acknowledged his clients misused the funds, but said the money was used to support a comfortable lifestyle enjoyed by everyone in the seven-member family. In addition to the 15-year-old twins, the Pompas have three biological children, Stewart said.
"It certainly wasn't a crime of greed," he said. "They used the trust fund for the entire family when it was supposed to be exclusive for these two."
After obtaining custody of Olivia and Dylan Phillips, the Pompas did not seek legal counsel on the trust fund, which Stewart estimated at more than $1.4 million.
Had they done so, the couple would have been better informed on the specifics of what the money could be used for, Stewart said.
"If there had been better checks and balances, this would never have happened," he said.
Stewart said the Pompas used the trust fund money for buying a home for the family in the North Hills and then a larger home in Cranberry.
The couple has since filed for bankruptcy. The home in Cranberry went into foreclosure and the family now lives in a Seven Springs condo they bought years ago, Stewart said.
Appearing Wednesday before Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Kevin Sasinoski, the Pompas pleaded guilty to eight counts of misapplication of entrusted funds and were sentenced to 16 years probation.
They also were ordered to repay $1.4 million.
When contacted by Cranberry Patch, Merily Pompa referred questions to Stewart.