DEDHAM -- A former Weymouth Bank executive pleaded not guilty Monday to allegations he stole more than $268,000 from the accounts of a niece and nephew who were in his care after the death of his sister and brother-in-law.
William R. Hartnett of Weymouth is accused of taking the money for illicit use as he struggled with drugs. According to a police report filed in Quincy District Court, where the case originated in 2014, the money came from life insurance policies, a pension, and retirement funds held by the children’s parents.
The accounts also held money generated through fund-raisers for Hartnett’s nephew and niece.
The bank notified Weymouth police in March 2014 after officials noticed large amounts of money had been withdrawn from the children’s trust funds at ATMs around the area, the police report said.
By the time police got involved, only about $54,000 remained in the accounts.
Authorities said when the case was filed in May 2014 that Hartnett may have redirected at least a month of Social Security payments intended for his niece to another bank after the Weymouth Bank accounts were frozen.
Hartnett, who worked as vice president of retail investments and business development officer at Weymouth Bank, was released on personal recognizance as he awaits trial on three counts of embezzlement and three counts of larceny over $250.
The case is now in Norfolk Superior Court, following a grand jury indictment last month. Officials with Weymouth Bank declined to comment on the case.
The children were about 6 and 3 years old in 2009 when their parents, Michelle and Tim Worthy, died in a one-vehicle crash in Medfield, where they lived. Hartnett’s nephew was in the car at the time, according to a Globe obituary, and both children were placed in Hartnett’s guardianship.
Defense attorney David Paul Flanagan declined to comment on the specifics of the case against Hartnett. He did say, however, that Hartnett remains close with the children in his care.
“He spends a considerable amount of time with his children, and he is a great family man,” Flanagan said.
Details of the custody situation involving the niece and nephew were not immediately available.
Bank officials told police in 2014 that Hartnett had returned from a drug treatment center and was “slowly beginning to rebuild his life.”
An article on WickedLocal.com, published on Nov. 9, 2009, and mentioned in the police report, shows a picture of Hartnett’s family with his wife, mother, and two young children alongside his niece and nephew.
Hartnett told the publication his nephew was adjusting at school and making friends. And he spoke wistfully of the family members who died.
“Every day, I can see my brother-in-law and sister in both of the kids,” Hartnett said, thanking the community for helping support the family through the ordeal.
“We will get through it,” he said, according to the article.