ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A Wisconsin woman is being charged with swindling her 97-year-old mother-in-law in Minnesota and allegedly using the money at casinos.
Deborah Ann Steele, 68, was charged in Ramsey County District Court with 10 counts related to taking $345,000 from a vulnerable adult, the Pioneer Press reported . The charges each have a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison or a $100,000 fine, or both.
Court records show Steele married the St. Paul woman’s sick son in 2013.
The woman paid $100,000 to create a trust fund for her son, with the belief that she’d receive the money back if her son died. However, Steele made herself the sole beneficiary.
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The woman also made Steele her sole legal representative in 2015. The couple divorced that year, giving Steele all their assets. The man had planned to go onto public assistance so Steele wouldn’t be liable for his expenses.
After her ex-husband died last year, Steele withdrew $12,000 from the trust fund and transferred the remaining funds to her own bank account. She also took $254,000 from her mother-in-law’s accounts.
Casino records show Steele played an average of $180,000 from 2002 to 2014. The gambling increased to $620,000 in 2015 when she became her mother-in-law’s legal representative and spiked to $2.5 million last year, which included winnings she reinvested.
Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press, http://www.twincities.com