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Eau Claire couple charged with stealing mother's money

An Eau Claire couple are accused of embezzling about $200,000 from the husband's elderly mother since she suffered a stroke in 2005. Duane J. Nauiokaitis, 46, and his wife, Victoria J. Nauiokaitis, 39, both of 3415 McIvor St., each were charged M...

An Eau Claire couple are accused of embezzling about $200,000 from the husband's elderly mother since she suffered a stroke in 2005.

Duane J. Nauiokaitis, 46, and his wife, Victoria J. Nauiokaitis, 39, both of 3415 McIvor St., each were charged Monday with a felony count of theft in a business setting in excess of $10,000.

If found guilty, each could be sentenced to a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

They're accused of using Duane Nauiokaitis' power of attorney over his mother's finances from August 2005 to January 2011 to pay personal expenses while she was in an Altoona nursing home.

According to the criminal complaint filed in Eau Claire County Court:

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Duane Nauiokaitis met with the county Human Services Department in January to turn over power of attorney for his mother. After doing so, he confessed to Altoona police that he'd recently used about $1,200 of his mother's money for his own expenses.

The case was handed over to the white-collar crime unit of the Eau Claire Police Department, which concluded that the couple had embezzled about $200,000.

The mother's financial records showed purchases that did not make sense for a woman living in a nursing home.

The Nauiokaitises wrote checks to a veterinarian, landscaping service, utility companies, sporting goods stores, a collection agency and paid a parking ticket. They also arranged transfers to pay a mortgage, gas bills, phone bills and Internet service.

While the couple used the money to pay for their own housing, they did not pay taxes on their mother's home in Juneau County, which may be sold at auction to pay unpaid taxes.

The couple also did not pay fees to the Grace Edgewood assisted living center, prompting the Grace Lutheran Foundation to sue Duane Nauiokaitis and his mother in 2009. The foundation won a judgment of $9,586 for unpaid fees.

Duane Nauiokaitis admitted to police that he and his wife were having financial problems and knew taking his mother's money was wrong.

His wife told police that although she did not have power of attorney, she wrote many of the checks because Duane Nauiokaitis "is not the financial type."

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Dowd can be reached at 715-833-9204, 800-236-7077 or andrew.dowd@ecpc.com .

(c)2011 the Leader-Telegram (Eau Claire, Wis.)

Visit the Leader-Telegram (Eau Claire, Wis.) at www.leadertelegram.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Related Topics: CRIME
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