A Lehigh County con man, who bilked an elderly man out of more than $100,000, was sentenced to a state prison term in Carbon County court.
Edwin Kistler, 62, of Whitehall, was sentenced by President Judge Roger N. Nanovic to serve 18 to 36 months in prison and make restitution of $122,456.
Kistler had entered a guilty plea to the charge but failed to show for his sentencing in June 2008. A bench warrant was issued for his arrest but he was able to remain free until two years later when he was arrested after a traffic stop in Lehigh County.
He was brought back to Carbon and jailed. He was then able to post $75,000 cash bail.
He was charged by state police at Fern Ridge with bilking Geroge Abrchinsky out of the money in an investment scam. Abrchinsky has since passed away and the restitution is to be paid to his estate. The scam began in August 2005 when Kistler first met Abrchinsky.
At the time Kistler told Abrchinsky he was employed by National Security Agency in Washington, D.C. He told Abrchinsky that if he gave him $110,000 to invest in his firm for one year after a period of one year he said Abrchinsky would begin repayment to him at a rate of $6,500 per month for five years. After the $110,000 was given to him, Kistler asked for another $12,000 from Abrchinsky, which he was given.
Troopers said Kistler was not an employee of National Security Agency.
After Abrchinsky died Kistler attempted to withdraw his guilty plea stating he had repaid the victim the money. A hearing was held before Nanovic on the request to withdraw the plea.
At that hearing Assistant District Attorney James Lavelle argued that Kistler's attempt to withdraw his plea and claim that he repaid the money would prejudice the commonwealth in its prosecution. Lavelle said Kistler has no proof he repaid the money and only made the claim after Abrchinsky died.
Nanovic denied the petition to withdraw the plea and set sentencing for for Aug. 15. Again Kistler failed to show. On the day of the scheduled sentencing defense Atty. Joseph Perilli told Nanovic he received a phone call from his client about and hour prior to the sentencing proceeding. He said Kistler told him he was ill and was en route to a hospital.
Nanovic issued another bench warrant and told Perilli and the district attorney's office to check area hospitals for Kistler. He could not be found.
He was located last Thursday in Whitehall and taken into custody and returned to Carbon. At the sentencing proceeding Perilli asked to a continuance at Kistler's request, due to medical reasons. Nanovic denied the request.
Kistler again claimed he had repaid the victim the money, but Lavelle told the court Abrchinsky's family members could not find any record of the funds.
Kistler told Nanovic, "I did nothing wrong." He also complained about time spent in jail.
Nanovic told him, "You spent time in jail because of your actions in not showing up for scheduled court dates." Nanovic also told Kistler he only claimed to have repaid the money after Abrchinsky died. He added, "When Mr. Abrchinsky was alive you never denied the allegations."
In addition to the jail time and restitution, Nanovic also ordered Kistler to supply a DNA sample and pay the $250 fee, get a mental health evaluation and follow any recommendation for treatment, and have no contact with the victim's family.
He was given credit for 94 days spent in prison.
In closing, Nanovic told Kistler that any health problems he has would be better taken care of in the state system.