Reporting Reg Chapman
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Maple Grove city councilwoman has been charged with stealing thousands of dollars from her dying father.
The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office says Leann Sargent had power of attorney for her sick father, and while he was in her home, she took his money. She took more than $153,000 from her father between 2008 until his death in March of 2012, prosecutors say.
“He gave her power of attorney, which she exploited to put money in her own pocket,” said Mike Freeman, the county attorney.
Sargent, 62, used this power to pay herself from her father’s checking and money market accounts, a criminal complaint says. She’s also accused of taking cash advances from her father’s credit card.
“She exploited him after illness that caused him to live in her house,” Freeman said. “Not only did she charge her father $500 a month to live in her house, she also charged him $1,500 a month for services.”
Sargent filed for bankruptcy, and under oath lied about the money she was getting from her father, prosecutors say.
“She under listed, or failed to list, the $1,500 a month she was getting, she also failed to acknowledge all the cash advances,” Freeman said.
Her brother alerted police after their father died with a little less than $400 in his accounts.
She took from her father to keep money away from her brother, Freeman says.
“She was going to inherit the father’s house that had a mortgage on it; the two of them were going to split the family cabin, which didn’t have a mortgage. She went and caused to have a mortgage taken out on the cabin, so she could pay off the mortgage on his home,” Freeman said.
Voters re-elected Sargent to another term on Maple Grove’s city council. Freeman says the charges have nothing to do with her position.
Maple Grove’s city administrator said Sargent is innocent until proven guilty.
She has been charged with two counts of perjury and two counts of exploiting a vulnerable adult.