Sons charged with stealing from best-selling true-crime author Ann Rule

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For decades, author Ann Rule has written one best-selling true-crime novel after another about people victimized by those they loved.

Now it appears that Rule may have become a crime victim herself.

King County prosecutors have filed theft charges against two of her sons, Andrew and Michael Rule, 54 and 51, respectively, who are accused of separately verbally abusing her and stealing thousands of dollars from her, reports the Seattle PI. Both, along with two other children, were paid monthly salaries by Rule totaling about $25,000 for all four.

Now 84 and confined to a wheelchair after a 2013 fall, Rule suffers from extreme confusion at times and is vulnerable, prosecutors say. They have charged the two sons with first-degree theft, according to the Huffington Post and the Los Angeles Times (sub. req.). A tip from Rule’s son-in-law led authorities to investigate.

Michael Rule, who lives very near his mother’s Normandy Park home, would “yell at his mother demanding money as she cowered in her wheelchair,” a court filing says. It recounted that once, in a fit of anger, he “screamed at her and threw a cellphone across the room, smashing it to pieces.” He had control over at least some of her financial affairs and is accused of forging her signature on dozens of checks over a period of nearly one year.

Andrew Rule allegedly bullied his mother into meeting his financial demands, wrote special agent Todd Sadler of the Social Security Administration’s Inspector General’s Office in a document filed in the case. It states that he “would pester and bully Ann relentlessly for money, sometimes threatening suicide, sometimes trying to make her feel guilty, sometimes screaming obscenities at her, until she would finally give in.”

News accounts say Ann Rule declined to comment and Michael Rule could not be located with a request for comment. Andrew Rule told KIRO that he had “absolutely not” stolen from his mother or harassed her for money. “Basically I used to have a gambling problem, but I don’t anymore, and I have absolutely no idea why I was pulled in at the same time my brother was,” he told the station.

Rule is best known for her books about Ted Bundy (he was a friend of hers before he was identified as a serial killer suspect) and Elizabeth Diane Downs, a mother convicted of shooting one child to death and injuring two others.

Hat tip: Daily Mail

Related coverage:

Houston Chronicle: “True-crime writer Ann Rule sees Ted Bundy story as a warning”

The Oregonian: “Notorious child killer Diane Downs must wait 10 more years before she applies for parole again”

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