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.