A former employee of Twin Ports Guardianship and Payee Services who allegedly stole more than $12,000 from a client's account waived her preliminary hearing in Douglas County Circuit Court on March 12.
Kathy Sue Nelson, 47, of Superior faces 11 counts of felony theft, 11 counts of misdemeanor theft, two counts of identity theft for financial gain and one count of unauthorized use of an entity's identifying information or documents. Cash bail of $5,000 was set for Nelson, who was ordered to have no contact with the client.
According to the criminal complaint, Nelson was an employee of Twin Ports Guardianship and Payee from November 2015 to August 2018. Her employment was terminated after administrators found unaccounted for funds removed from client accounts, according to Jan Cummings of Twin Ports Guardianship.
The thefts took place from an account under Nelson's control over a 10-month period from October 2017 to July 2018. Nelson had the ability to take cash directly out of the client's account, fill out checks and obtain credit cards from the bank to be used on purchases for the client.
An audit showed Nelson had reportedly taken $12,350 in cash from the client's account and purchased about $5,000 worth of clothing from a retailer in Nelson's size, which is too small for the client.
The reported thefts included cash withdrawals, change from approved purchases that was never returned to the client and the purchase of gift cards, books, jewelry and other merchandise without the client's knowledge or permission. Many of the gift cards were used at Superior and Duluth businesses.
Cummings said the purchases could not have been made by the client, who lives in an Ashland nursing home and does not travel to Superior.
She told Officer Jeff Felton of the Superior Police Department that they had become suspicious of Nelson's spending habits before the audit. Nelson reportedly had taken at least seven destination vacations in the year prior to her termination.
The felony counts, all class H, carry a maximum penalty of six years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000. Nelson's next court appearance was set for April 17.