Family accused of financial exploitation

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WINONA — A woman and her boyfriend made their first appearances Thursday in Winona County District Court, where they've been accused of financially exploiting her father.

Deborah Pearl Clegg, 60, was charged with four counts of theft by swindle, three counts of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult and one count of wrongfully obtaining assistance, all felonies.

Wayne Robert Bohnhoff, 64, faces four counts of felony theft by swindle.

Clegg and Bohnhoff, both of Dayton, have been released on their own recognizance and are due back in court Sept. 10.

Clegg's sister, Teresa Sue Forsyth, 57, of Greenfield, Ind., is due in court Thursday. She has been charged with four counts of theft by swindle and three counts of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult, all felonies.


The investigation into the case — which reveals a total loss of more than $159,000 — began in February 2013, when the women's brother filed a complaint with the Winona Police Department on behalf of their father, who died in November 2012.

The brother told police his sisters had been their father's attorneys-in-fact since 2007. In 2009, the son learned the victim's sister — their aunt — had died, leaving a large inheritance to the victim, the report says. The victim said his daughters would be putting the money in a "special account" that was opened.

That sounded suspicious to the son, so he asked the victim to contact him when he received the first check from the estate. A few days later, the complaint says, when the brother stopped to see his father, Deborah Clegg accused her brother of taking the first inheritance check.

There was very little communication between the son and his father or Clegg after that, he told police. After their father's death, his other siblings told him there had been nothing from the estate, the report says. When he began to look into the matter, the brother also learned Clegg had applied for medical assistance for their father in January 2012.

According to the criminal complaint, a trustee of the aunt's estate said several checks had been issued to the victim. An investigator obtained banking information through subpoenas of several accounts related to the victim and Clegg, which revealed the following:

Checks from the aunt's estate, issued to the victim between November 2009 and January 2012, totaled $149,305.04. The checks were deposited by Clegg into bank accounts under her control and in joint ownership with Bohnhoff and Forsyth.

After transferring the money to herself, Clegg allegedly filled out an application for medical assistance for her father in Winona County, failing to disclose the inheritance he'd received. She was approved, based on the falsified application, the complaint says.

From April 2012 until the victim's death in November 2012, medical assistance received in his name totaled more than $14,100.


Withdrawals from the various bank accounts were made by Clegg, Bohnhoff and Forsyth, the report says.

Each of the charges carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a $100,000 fine or both.

Related Topics: CRIMEPOLICE
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