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Amundson wants jury to hear exploitation case

Amundson, Jeff 2011.jpg
Jeff Amundson
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Jeffery Amundson, the former president of the Rochester Symphony Orchestra and Chorale accused of stealing thousands of dollars from a vulnerable adult, will take his case to trial.

He was charged in January 2015 with four counts of felony financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult. The trial is slated to begin Monday in Olmsted County District Court.

The charges against Amundson, 46, were filed after an employee at a licensed group home in Rochester told authorities that Amundson had been spending the victim's money on himself, and the victim was receiving only $20 per month.

That prompted authorities to gather the victim's financial records from 2010-2013. An analysis of those records revealed numerous suspicious debit card purchases, including many restaurant and online purchases, as well as cash withdrawals by Amundson, court documents say.

When questioned by authorities, Amundson denied stealing the funds, claiming the victim owed him $20,000 because he had "paid for the victim's apartment and helped him get Social Security benefits and medical assistance," according to the complaint.

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Amundson had once reportedly told staff with Olmsted County Adult Protective Services that the victim owed him $50,000.

Court documents itemize more than $18,500 spent by Amundson from January 2011 through December 2013.

He told investigators, however, that he'd been taking money for about a year, tracking the amount, but said a fire destroyed the paperwork that documented it.

According to the complaint, Amundson said he had "gotten behind" and paid a lot of overdraft fees.

Amundson alleged the victim's social worker told him to "draw down the account every month;" the social worker denied saying that.

The RSOC placed Amundson on paid leave Feb. 1, 2015, and announced he would no longer be actively involved in the organization, adding that its own financial integrity had not been compromised.

Board members moved him to unpaid status two months later "due to the uncertainty of the date of resolution of the case and to conserve the symphony's funds." Amundson had been with the organization since April 2011.

The RSOC assured its members that its own financial information is reviewed on a monthly basis. Those have never revealed any "financial irregularities," the board says.

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