The daughter of a woman accused of being the ringleader in an alleged Social Security fraud plot in which mentally disabled people were held captive in a squalid basement is "shocked" but understands the charges she faces, her lawyer said Wednesday.
In a brief court hearing, a judge scheduled a Dec. 19 preliminary hearing for Jean McIntosh, 32. She will join her mother, Linda Ann Weston, 51, and the two other co-defendants at that hearing. All four were arrested last week and face kidnapping, false imprisonment and other counts.
Outside of court, McIntosh's attorney said his client understands the charges and that he does not plan to ask for a competency hearing.
"She's just kind of shocked and surprised," attorney Michael J. Graves Jr. said. "She understands the charges. ... I'm really not able to tell her any more than that."
Graves, who was privately retained, said he has spent several hours with his client, but is still gathering information.
Weston and the other two defendants _ Weston's boyfriend Gregory Thomas, 47, and Eddie "the Rev. Ed" Wright, 50 _ had their initial appearance Monday. None have entered pleas or appeared in court.
Earlier this week, Weston's attorney said he was evaluating his client's mental state and thought a competency hearing for her would be a good idea.
The victims, who authorities say have the mental capacity of 10-year-olds, were discovered by a landlord at a Philadelphia apartment building on Oct. 15. They were malnourished and one was chained to a boiler, police said.
Investigators are working to discover the extent of the alleged scheme after finding more than 50 Social Security cards, power of attorney documents and other forms. The suspects may have been taking in the downtrodden and disabled for their Social Security checks, then holding them captive in wretched conditions without enough to eat or drink, authorities said.
Eight children and four young adults linked to the defendants were taken into protective custody, and DNA tests are being conducted to determine the children's identities.