DA says woman stole from elderly coupleTheft charges were filed Wednesday against a Solon Springs woman accused of draining as much as $71,000 from the bank accounts of an elderly couple who granted her power of attorney.
By: Maria Lockwood, The Daily Telegram
Theft charges were filed Wednesday against a Solon Springs woman accused of draining as much as $71,000 from the bank accounts of an elderly couple who granted her power of attorney.
Jennifer Lynn Lefler, 30, faces one charge of felony theft. If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and up to a $25,000 fine.
While siphoning the money off through ATM withdrawals and payments made to herself, Lefler failed to pay bills for the couple, who were living in a nursing home, according to the complaint.
“There were partial payments made, however they were small amounts and not near enough to cover the required amounts due,” the complaint stated.
The elderly couple, both in their 80s, was scheduled to be discharged because no payments had been made, the complaint stated, and their current social security checks are being paid directly to the nursing home to pay off an accumulated debt of more than $33,000.
When Lefler was granted power of attorney, the couple had liquid assets totaling more than $80,000.
Nine months later, they had $100 left in a savings account and a little over $3,000 in a checking account, even though they received pension and social security income of approximately $17,000 during that time, the complaint stated.
At least $26,000 was pulled out of the accounts through ATM cash withdrawals, according to the complaint. Other money was paid out through a book of blank checks one of the elderly couple had signed without filling in the “pay to the order” part.
The alleged pilfering came to light in October when Lefler applied for Wisconsin Medical Assistance to help pay for the couple’s medical expenses.
Lefler was asked to provide a list of purchases. She did so, but was unable to provide any receipts for proof of purchase. The only expenditures that could be verified were slightly more than $32,000 paid to the nursing home and about $5,000 in miscellaneous expenses.
That left $71,000 of the couple’s money unaccounted for. The couple revoked Lefler’s power of attorney in February.
A preliminary hearing was set for April 16. Lefler remained free on a $2,000 signature bond.