When Orange County's Cindy Ball of Cypress began to battle a severe illness in 2005 she turned her finances over to her brother and expected honesty.
After all, Bob Silverman isn't just Ball's brother. He's a pastor at Empowering Life Church in Bedford, Texas.
And, according to the church's website, “members truly try to live what the Bible has taught them.” Members also join “Army of God squads” and socialize with other “credible Christians.”
But Silverman, 61, had a few secrets.
In an unstable marriage, he'd run up more than $17,500 in credit card debt and apparently couldn't pay with his own money.
During a three-year period Silverman converted $771,291 of his disabled sister's money for his own use, according to a Texas judge, who says that Silverman violated the Texas Theft Liability Act and must also pay $50,000 for Ball's attorney and $12,738 in interest.
“He flew in [from Texas] and met with our family and convinced them he could take care of me,” Ball–a former cosmetics saleswoman–told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram this week. “I was depressed, and I believed him because he had always taken care of me.”
Claiming his innocence, Silverman is planning an appeal.
–R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly