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Rosemount woman charged with financial exploitation

April 10, 2018 GMT

RED WING — A Roseville woman is facing a criminal charge because authorities believe she spent $5,600 at Treasure Island Casino with money from the bank account of a man with “degenerative cognitive function,” for whom she is the caretaker.

Theresa Marie Wallace, 60, failed to appear for her court appearance on March 30 in Goodhue County District Court, where she is charged with one count of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult, a felony. A warrant has been issued for her arrest.

When law enforcement contacted her in July 2017, she told them that she had a “gambling problem” and had recently dropped out of Gamblers Anonymous, according to the criminal complaint. Authorities estimate that Wallace had spent $143,000 at the Treasure Island Casino; of that money spent, she lost about $12,000, according to court documents.

In addition to that, there were $13,132 in ATM and direct withdrawals from ATMs and TCF Bank branches in Roseville and Maplewood, court documents say.

Officers obtained a court order to freeze the accounts, and obtained a search warrant for two additional bank accounts that received Social Security and pension fund payments.

Authorities were alerted to the alleged abuse on July 27, 2017, when the Minnesota Department of Human Services Adult Abuse Reporting Center notified the Prairie Island Police Department that a fraud investigator with U.S. Bank found that Wallace had withdrawn $1,937.10 from the man’s account at Treasure Island Casino.

A family member advised that Wallace had been stealing money from the man “for some time.” The family member said that he knew about the theft, but couldn’t seem to prevent it because Wallace takes care of the victim’s medical needs.

Family members, during a meeting with law enforcement, told officers of additional financial abuse, including a cash store loan, a high interest car loan and credit cards. A credit check revealed Wallace had also attempted to open a Target credit card, without the victim’s knowledge. Payments to the man’s assisted care facility had stopped, so the facility had stopped serving the man meals. Wallace provided him food, but family members told police that he just got one meal per day, and estimated he was “at least 10 pounds underweight,” court documents say.

The victim signed for many of the cash advances, Wallace told police, but she admitted he was probably not aware of how much money she was taking out.