LANSING – Yesterday, Jessica Englebrecht, 36, of Scottville, was found guilty by a Mason County jury of all 11 charged counts for abusing her authority as a guardian and embezzling from 10 vulnerable adults she was appointed to protect and commingling her clients’ funds, announced Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.
The jury, in the 51st Circuit Court in Ludington, convicted Englebrecht of:
- Eight counts of embezzlement from a vulnerable adult – $1,000 or more but less than $20,000, a five-year felony and/or a $10,000 fine, or three times the value of the money or property involved, whichever is greater;
- One count of vulnerable adults – caregiver commingling funds/obstructing investigations, a two-year high court misdemeanor and/or $25,000 fine;
- One count of embezzlement from a vulnerable adult – $200 or more but less than $1,000, a one-year misdemeanor and/or a $2,000 fine, or three times the value of the money or property involved, whichever is greater; and
- One count of embezzlement from a vulnerable adult – less than $200, a 93-day misdemeanor and/or a $500 fine, or three times the value of the money or property involved, whichever is greater.
Michigan State Police began investigating Englebrecht in 2019 together with Adult Protective Services. Englebrecht stood trial for embezzling more than $20,000 from 10 vulnerable adults. Englebrecht was appointed as a guardian and/or conservator for the adults from 2017 to 2019.
“Those the state trusts in court-appointed positions of power as guardians and conservators must be held to the highest standards and must be held accountable when they use their position criminally,” said Nessel. “I applaud the jury and prosecutors for securing justice in this case, and the investigators at Michigan State Police and Adult Protective Services for their commitment to uncovering this abuse. Michigan’s Elder Abuse Task Force has many recommendations to protect those under guardianship, including the certification of appointed guardians, and I remain committed to pursuing that measure.”
Attorney General Nessel has made elder abuse a top priority for her administration, assisting in the creation of the Michigan Elder Abuse Task Force. The task force has outlined several recommendations to improve protections for Michigan’s elderly populations, including proposing a certification requirement for those serving as guardians. Currently, no qualification or training is necessary to be a guardian, just a judge’s appointment.
Englebrecht will next appear for sentencing, scheduled for October 31, 2023.
Visit the Attorney General’s website for more information on the Elder Abuse Task Force.
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Jury Convicts Scottville Woman on 11 Counts for Embezzlement from a Vulnerable Adult