MANATEE -- A 55-year-old wheelchair-bound man was before a judge Friday morning to schedule his jury trial for allegedly scheming an elderly Manatee County man out of his retirement money.
Dennis Cline was booked in Manatee County jail Nov. 21 and charged with a first-degree felony of scheming to defraud over $50,000. He was arrested Nov. 16 in Citrus County.
Trial is set for June 10.
The victim had retired after a long career as a butcher at Publix, then Sweetbay in 2005, and received a retirement amount of $186,000.
Following his retirement, the victim had chosen to sign up for medical insurance with Lincoln Heritage, which is when he met Cline.
"After a few months Dennis Cline befriended the victim and then had told him that on top of selling insurance he was a financial advisor," said a Manatee County Sheriff's Office complaint report dated Sept. 19.
The report says Cline convinced the victim to open an annuity account.
"Due to the fact the victim trusted Dennis, he gave him power of attorney to invest the money and to manage the account," said the report.
In 2007 the victim also began to allow Cline to file his taxes, but later found out no returns were ever filed.
"In addition to the loss of his retirement account, the victim now owes $20,000 to the IRS," the report said.
Bank statements later acquired during the investigation revealed that Cline made several withdrawals throughout the years.
Finally on Sept. 18, 2012 the account was drained and subsequently closed.
The victim never saw any of the account statements to alert him of the withdrawals because the address had been changed.
On Dec. 20, Cline was denied limited release without prejudice by Judge Thomas Krug.
On March 20, Cline's private attorney, Colleen M. Glenn, filed a motion with the judge to withdraw as counsel.
"The defendant has engaged in aggressive behavior towards undersigned counsel and associate Erika Wilson, including cursing, insulting and misrepresenting facts," Glenn's motion stated. "In addition, the defendant abused the services of Justice Investigations."
She also said that Cline was indigent and qualified for the public defender, which was later assigned to his case April 22.
In a letter dated April 12 to the judge, Cline refuted Glenn's statements in her motion to withdraw.
"Atty. Glenn failed to appear at four of the first of five court dates including my bond reduction," Cline wrote. "After retaining Atty. Glenn and paying her in full we had one phone call and three brief meetings in the cell at the courthouse."
The two had a heated conversation where Glenn claims Cline got aggressive, but Cline denies it.
Earlier this month, two dozen character reference letters were written and sent to Krug on Cline's behalf.
Jessica De Leon, law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.