Man charged with felony financial exploitation
A Rochester man faces multiple felonies after authorities say he spent nearly $80,000 of his mother's money without her permission.
Terry Joe Ruesink, 57, was charged by summons in Olmsted County District Court with four counts of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult. His first court appearance is Sept. 11.
The investigation began when Olmsted County Adult Protection officials received a report of possible exploitation. The 82-year-old victim has been classified as a vulnerable adult after a 2009 diagnosis with dementia, court documents say; Ruesink was appointed as her power of attorney on Aug. 30.
According to the criminal complaint, on Oct. 15, Ruesink cashed a certificate of deposit worth nearly $86,000 that belonged to the woman, and deposited the entire amount into her money market account.
From Nov. 13 through Jan. 2, Ruesink allegedly spent a total of $70,113 on multiple items, including more than $51,000 on a lake home, $11,500 on a truck, nearly $4,000 to a roofing company and nearly $4,000 in cash to himself.
The woman's checking account records reportedly indicated Ruesink had spent more than $8,000 of those funds, writing checks to himself, a carpet store and a furniture store, among others.
Authorities spoke to Ruesink's daughters, who all verified the alleged victim had memory issues; they also allegedly said their father told them the woman had bought him the lake home.
When one daughter said it wasn't right to use her money that way, Ruesink told her he was going to pay the woman back, the complaint says.
Investigators spoke to Ruesink, who told them the victim gave him the money for the lake home, wanted him to put a new roof on it, and said she'd buy him a new vehicle. According to the complaint, Ruesink said his mother's memory is "fine," though a bank employee told officials Ruesink told her in December he was concerned about the woman's state of mind.
If convicted, Ruesink faces a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison, a fine of $200,000, or both.