A local woman has been sentenced to five years in state prison for looting approximately $166,000 from her late father’s estate after lying to authorities by telling them he died without a valid will, acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo announced Monday.
Patricia Giddings, 47, of Au Sable Forks, N.Y. also must pay $100,000 in restitution under the terms imposed Friday by Union County Superior Court Judge Regina Caulfield.
An investigation into Giddings’s activities, led by the Special Prosecutions Unit of the Prosecutor’s Office and Sgt. David Nechamkin, was initiated in June 2018, upon the request of the Office of the Union County Surrogate, according to Union County Deputy First Assistant Prosecutor Derek Nececkas and Assistant Prosecutor Robert Rosenthal, who prosecuted the case.
The investigation revealed that when Steve Kallis died at 81 in August 2016, Giddings falsely claimed in government documents that her father – who owned and operated a number of local restaurants for nearly 50 years, before retiring in 2005 – had no will, and that she was his lone heir. In reality, according to the investigation, Kallis had a valid will, prepared in 2000, which directed that the vast majority of his assets go to the defendant’s two daughters and a third person – her brother.
Nevertheless, Giddings appointed herself administrator of the Kallis estate and drew more than $166,000 from its accounts over the course of two years, also selling herself Kallis’s home on Inwood Road in Linden (valued at approximately $220,000 at the time) for a single dollar.
In December 2018, a Union County grand jury indicted Giddings on two counts of second-degree theft, second-degree misapplication of entrusted property, fourth-degree falsification of records, and fourth-degree criminal contempt. Giddings pleaded guilty in the case in November 2019.