Monday, July 4, 2016
Posted: Monday, June 27, 2016
Jo Ciavaglia: 215-949-4181; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @JoCiavaglia
A Lower Southampton man who authorities alleged was “gifted” a 14-year-old girl after he helped her parents out of "financial ruin" has experienced his own serious money problems.
Legal and business records show Lee Kaplan, 51, of Old Street Road, defaulted on a half-million dollar loan and owes thousands of dollars in taxes and water bills.
Police arrested Kaplan and the now 18-year-old girl's parents on June 16 after a neighbor called the state child abuse hotline to report she was concerned about the welfare of children in the home. Police found the 18-year-old girl, her two children and nine other girls — who are believed to be the 18-year-old girl's sisters — in the home.
Kaplan faces sexual assault charges involving the 18-year-old, who authorities say bore Kaplan two children, now ages 6 months and 3 years old. The parents of the girl, who are former members of the Amish community in Lancaster, are charged with endangering the welfare of children. The father faces an additional conspiracy charge. This news organization is not identifying the girl's parents in an effort to protect the children's identities.
The three remain incarcerated in Bucks County prison in lieu of 10 percent of $1 million bail each. Their preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 2.
Authorities have not provided details on how or when Kaplan allegedly helped the girls' parents "out of financial ruin." But Kaplan apparently had his own problems even before the former Amish couple "gifted" their daughter to him in 2012.
He was sued three times in Bucks County Court between 1998 and 2002, records show. All three cases were settled out of court.
Kaplan and the girl's father entered into a business partnership — called D & K Metal Technologies — in 2003. The new business was headquartered at the Pumping Station Road property in Kirkwood, Lancaster County, where the family lived. The family had borrowed $300,000 in 2001 against the property to build a home and several buildings for a metal fabrication business, court records show.
In May 2007, a Lancaster County judge entered a default judgement against Kaplan and his business partner for $8,837.19 for failing to pay for a shipment of galvanized steel coil they purchased in December 2005, according to court records. That judgement remains open.
Over the last two years, Kaplan and his business partner continued to fall deeper in debt.
In June 2014, the two men borrowed $500,000 from a Florida couple — money they planned to use to buy a property on Locust Lane in Quarryville, a home the family had been renting, and to repay rent and prior loans, according to court documents. The pair agreed in writing to repay the loan in 30 days, but defaulted.
The Florida couple filed a lawsuit in Bucks County Court and won $580,000 in a default judgement including interest and attorney fees, records show. The judgement remains open.
This news organization was unsuccessful in reaching either the Florida couple or their Montgomery County attorney for comment.
Meanwhile, court records show the Bucks County Water and Sewer Authority has filed three municipal liens against Kaplan’s Old Street Road property for $5,086.73 in outstanding bills. The liens were filed last year and in February. He also is behind on his real estate taxes and owes $7,591.08 for 2014 and last year, according to the county tax claims office.
Kaplan filed a payment agreement last September which gives him until Sept. 30 to pay off his 2014 balance, according to Marguerite Genesio, tax claim bureau director. If he pays off his 2014 balance, he could enter into another agreement for his delinquent 2015 taxes, Genesio said.
"Kaplan has been diligent with his payments and is not in jeopardy of tax sale this year,” she added. “He does not have a payment due to our office until this September.”