Charges: Mother, Uncle Stole From Burn Victim’s Fund
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HASTINGS, Minn. (WCCO) – A mother and uncle have been charged with stealing money from a benefit fund intended to assist the recovery of a teenager intentionally set on fire.
According to criminal charges filed in Dakota County, 43-year-old Jeffrey Stewart and 40-year-old Jodi Stewart acted together to take $2,500 from accounts set up to help Antoine Willis, who is currently being treated for second- and third-degree burns.
Jodi Stewart is Willis’s mother, and Jeffrey Stewart is Willis’s uncle.
Jeffrey Stewart set up benefit accounts without Willis’s permission. The criminal complaint says Willis went so far as to refuse to sign the paperwork because he didn’t trust his uncle.
Willis was set on fire on July 20 after Willis broke up an argument between Curtis Reed, 54, and his mother. Police said Reed poured lighter fluid on Willis, who was asleep, and then ignited it. Reed has been charged with that crime.
In August, Jeffrey Stewart and Jodi Stewart allegedly withdrew money from the accounts set up to benefit Willis and used the money at the casino.
Both Jeffrey Stewart and Jodi Stewart have been charged with felony counts of aiding and abetting theft by swindle. The maximum penalty the charge carries is five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.