The two adult sons of true-crime writer Ann Rule were charged last week with theft, accused of bilking their ailing mother out of more than $100,000 combined in a roughly 18-month span, though investigators are still digging into years of financial records to determine her total losses, court records show.
The two adult sons of true-crime writer Ann Rule were charged last week with theft for allegedly bilking their ailing mother out of more than $100,000, though investigators are still digging into years of financial records to determine her total losses, court records show.
One brother teamed up with his two sisters to protect their mom from their eldest brother, 54-year-old Andrew “Andy” Rule, of Kent, who has allegedly badgered and harangued Ann Rule for extra money for years — cash he largely spent on drugs, online betting on horse races and trips to strip clubs, according to charging documents and other court records.
After the siblings got a temporary protection order in January barring Andy Rule from contacting their mother, that second brother, 51-year-old Michael “Mike” Rule, is accused of forging checks, stealing mail and using credit cards all belonging to Ann Rule, the 83-year-old author who was diagnosed last month with dementia, the court records say.
For years, Ann Rule has been paying each of her children generous salaries for work they’ve done on her behalf, according to the records. Combined, the two brothers and two sisters receive $25,000 a month, with Mike Rule’s wife Marie also receiving a monthly salary from her mother-in-law up until recently, according to the records.
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The money allegedly stolen by her sons does not include their salaries, or the money Ann Rule paid monthly to cover Andy Rule’s rent, medical insurance and car insurance, the records say. Mike and Marie Rule were together paid $9,000 a month, while Andy Rule received $5,000 a month plus money for his other expenses, according to the documents.
Andy Rule, who was arrested in March for violating the protection order, was charged Friday with third-degree theft, domestic violence. Between October 2013 and March, he received more than $23,000 in checks from his mother’s personal account, charging papers say.
Mike Rule was also charged Friday with first-degree counts of theft and forgery, with both charges also carrying domestic-violence designations. He is accused of forging his mother’s signature on dozens of checks between March and October 2014 for more than $106,000 — with checks totaling more than $85,000 made out to himself and his wife, charging papers say.
Two days before Mike Rule was criminally charged, King County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Amanda Froh obtained temporary, vulnerable-adult-protection orders prohibiting Mike Rule and his wife from having any contact with Ann Rule, court records show.
The criminal investigation began March 2 after one of Ann Rule’s sons-in-law contacted prosecutors about his suspicions that Andy and Mike Rule were financially exploiting their mother, charging papers say.
According to a search warrant in the case, investigators are digging into financial records back to at least 2011. In March 2012, $150,000 was withdrawn from Ann Rule’s account and the next month, Mike Rule refinanced his mortgage, lowering his loan by roughly the same amount, the warrant says.
That May, another $183,500 was withdrawn from one of Ann Rule’s investment accounts — and investigators sought court permission to delve further into Mike Rule’s mortgage and loan information, according to the warrant.
In January, Ann Rule wrote an affidavit in support of a protection order against Andy Rule.
“To Andy, I’m just one big money sign, The Bank of Ann/Mom whom he thinks will never run out of cash,” Ann Rule, who lives in Normandy Park, wrote in the affidavit.
“If I say yes, he thanks me profusely. If I say no, he does his best to make me feel guilty. He is bitter, accusatory, deserted by the mother who should be granting his every wish,” her affidavit continues.
A former Seattle police officer, Rule has written more than 30 books during a career that dates to 1969 and has spawned more than 20 million copies in print. First published in 1980, Rule’s breakthrough-book, “The Stranger Beside Me,” chronicled the serial killings of Ted Bundy, whom Rule had worked with at a Seattle crisis clinic.
Rule’s cognitive and physical health have declined since she fell and broke a hip in October 2013, charging papers say. Since then she has had full-time, live-in caregivers and “is largely confined to a wheelchair,” is unable to perform daily tasks without assistance and is on oxygen at all times, the papers say.
Once Andy Rule was out of the picture due to the protection order, Mike Rule “began engaging in similar tactics of intimidation and coercion to pressure his mother to provide him funds above his monthly salary,” the charges say. He demanded to know the contents of her will and the size of his inheritance and insisted he needed extra money for his mortgage and other expenses, according to the charges.
“He would yell at his mother demanding money as she cowered in her wheelchair,” the charges say, noting that at least one caregiver quit because of Mike Rule’s volatile temper.