Saturday, December 13, 2014

Woman pleads guilty to financial exploitation

A former area resident accused of spending more than $100,000 of someone else's money has pleaded guilty to felony financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult.

In exchange, the court dismissed an identical exploitation charge and a single felony count of theft by swindle against Ashley Loraine Marschel, formerly known as Ashley Dotzenrod.

Marschel, 28, of Apple Valley, entered an Alford plea of guilty Friday in Olmsted County District Court. The plea means Marschel maintains her innocence, but acknowledges that the evidence would be sufficient to convict her.

Sentencing was set for Feb. 12.

The investigation began Sept. 27, when police were told by a Rochester financial institution that Marschel had deposited about $50,000 in checks written on the alleged victim's account into her own checking account. The victim is described in the criminal complaint as having "significant difficulty in speech and motor movements," as well as having seizures, all the result of a stroke several years ago.

The man requires the assistance of others for basic needs, and has a power of attorney to assist in financial matters, the report says, classifying him as a functional vulnerable adult.

In January 2011, the man named Marschel as his power of attorney; in May 2011, Marschel opened a joint savings account with the man.

According to the criminal complaint, the victim's former power of attorney said the victim was "frugal" and was "aware of Marschel's spending habits." The man set up the financial arrangement so if Marschel was going to be paid, he would have to write her the check. Since 2009, only one check has been written to Marschel, the records show.

When investigators spoke to the man in October 2013, he said Marschel "screwed me and stole my money."

Records obtained by law enforcement indicate Marschel made 143 transactions involving the victim's bank account from January 2011 to October 2013, for a total of more than $92,000.

Prior to January 2012, a credit card in the man's name was paid in full every month, the complaint says. From January 2012 to October 2013, records showed Marschel used the card 14 times, with purchases totaling about $11,800.

The man told investigators he hadn't given Marschel consent to use the card.

The combined check and credit card activity totals $103,864.

Full Article & Source: 
Woman pleads guilty to financial exploitation


Anonymous said...

I'm glad they got her, but I really think the exploitation charge should have stuck to give more publicity and focus on that specific crime.

Gerald Hemness said...

Just to be clear, what does this story have to do with guardians? It illustrates the risks inherent in allowing third parties to assist the vulnerable outside of the confines of the courts and emphasizes the beneficial protection a voluntary guardianship (FL law's remedy) can provide against such circumstances.