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Heiress Linny Fowler Scammed Out of $1 Million, DA Says

Allentown man and woman told philanthropist Linny Fowler they needed money for a sick child, but spent her money instead on clothing, travel and gambling, DA John Morganelli says.

 

Marlene “Linny” Fowler was well-known in the Lehigh Valley for her generosity, giving millions of dollars away to institutions, causes and individuals she thought needed the money.

But according to a Northampton County grand jury, two Allentown residents who got more than $1.2 million of the late UPS heiress’ money were taking advantage of her generous spirit.

On Friday, Shawnta Equana Carmon, 32, of 27 West St., and Hassan Rahman Carmon, 34, of 848 N. 16th St., were each arraigned on four felony theft counts. Both were committed to Northampton County Prison in lieu of $250,000 bail.

Shawnta Carmon took more than $1.15 million from Fowler during a four-and-a-half-year period that started in January 2008 and ended in August, according to a nine-page grand jury presentment.

Hassan Carmon started taking money from Fowler in April 2010, receiving more than $117,000 from Fowler over the next two years, the court papers say.

Together and separately, they concocted a variety of stories to convince Fowler to give them cash, for example, necessary dental treatment for Shawnta, college tuition for her niece and a heart transplant for her daughter, according to the record.

But all of those stories turned out to be false, the grand jury alleges. Instead, the money was used on “expensive clothing, expensive jewelry, limousine transportation, travel” and gambling, both privately and in casinos in Pennsylvania, Atlantic City and Las Vegas, the presentment says.

According to the grand jury:

  • Shawnta Carmon first approached Fowler with the story about dental work in 2008, taking $218,598 and another $183,190 in 2009.
  • Shawnta Carmon told Fowler about her need to get tuition money for her niece in 2010, receiving $333,344.
  • Hassan Carmon approached Fowler in 2010, telling her he needed to buy a car. He took $12,395.
  • In 2011 and 2012, Shawnta and Hassan Carmon told Fowler about Shawnta’s “sickly” daughter, at first telling her that she had a serious jaw ailment. Later, they told Fowler that the girl had serious heart problems and required a transplant.
  • Shawnta Carmon took $358,958 in 2011 and $59,051 in 2012.
  • Hassan Carmon took $40,000 in 2011 and $65,226 in 2012.

The presentment says that numerous witnesses were subpoenaed to appear during the investigation. Specifics on who those witnesses are were not part of the presentment, though on numerous occasions it says that “when confronted with evidence of her deception, Shawnta Carmon admitted her conduct.”

Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli announced the grand jury’s findings at a news conference Friday morning. Shawnta and Hassan Carmon were arraigned Friday afternoon before District Judge Roy Manwaring of Bethlehem.

Fowler, who died on Feb. 4, left behind a legacy of philanthropy and has numerous buildings named after her in the Lehigh Valley, including the Fowler Family South Side Center of Northampton Community College in Bethlehem

Mary Anne Looby February 23, 2013 at 01:11 PM
How sad to know that a generous person was used in that way. I hope there are no more stories like this. I also hope that the stress from these happenings did not contribute to her death. She was, from all reports, a kind and generous woman, who's legacy will live on the Bethehem.
GREG L February 23, 2013 at 03:32 PM
Ms. Fowler sounds as if she was a bit gullible here. Tuition and dental bills don't cost that much and she should have insisted on paying them directly. Ironically, the two people responsible for this scam have nothing to show for this other than the jail time they're going to get so the whole thing was pointless.
Patriot2 February 23, 2013 at 05:29 PM
But at least they used some of the money to gamble at the casino here in town that Linny backed thru her buddy Casino Johnny Callahan during the tough debates that took place in town when most of the citizens in the community stood up against it.
Kim February 23, 2013 at 06:32 PM
Wow Greg, aren't you the sensitive one. I think it goes without saying that she was a good hearted person who liked to see the good in other people. You sound like you're blaming her for being gullible. Why do you think old people are targeted so much...they have no clue the evil that exists in today's world. They grew up in a time when you didn't lock your doors!
Jeepers63 February 23, 2013 at 07:15 PM
So true Kim, well said.
GREG L February 23, 2013 at 09:22 PM
Who's being sensitive? I just made an observation. Under no circumstances would I pay 300K for someone's tuition or $ 200K for their dentist without proof that they owed it and even then, I would have paid the college or the doctor directly. That would have cut off this scam dead in its tracks. Perhaps there were extenuating circumstances with Ms. Fowler's age or health that prevented this and it's likely that these people weren't the only one's to have taken advantage of her. In any event, the purpose of the comments weren't to assail her for being gullible or to impugn her reputation for being generous. Read what's written rather than assume.
Janet Persing February 23, 2013 at 11:45 PM
Stop criticizing Linny Fowler's motive. It was pure and simple. Unfortunately, she had no idea how brazenly scumbags can scam. Hope these 2 get life; after all, they just spent $1.2M of someone else's money to party. Their life should be over.
Jennifer Moyer February 26, 2013 at 02:35 PM
Linny Fowler was clearly a wonderful woman. That her kindness, or perhaps late life health, interferred with her judgement about motives will hopefully be made right by DA John Morganelli. The crime here is that resources might have been directed to more worthy use than feeding scamsters. Now the public will most likely pay to incarcerate the the scamsters so the loss to the public continues.

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