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Rochester man pleads guilty to $80,000 financial exploitation

A Rochester man accused of spending about $80,000 of a woman's money without her permission has pleaded guilty in the case.

Terry Joe Ruesink, 57, was charged in August in Olmsted County District Court with four counts of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult. He pleaded guilty Monday to one of the counts; in exchange for the plea, the other counts are expected to be dismissed.

A sentencing date has not been set.

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, 2013.

According to the criminal complaint, on Oct. 15 of that year, Ruesink cashed a certificate of deposit worth about $86,000 that belonged to the woman, and deposited the entire amount into her money market account.


From Nov. 13, 2013, through Jan. 2, 2014, 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, about $4,000 to a roofing company and about $4,000 in cash to himself.

The woman's checking account records reportedly indicated Ruesink spent more than $8,000 of those funds, writing checks to himself, a carpet store and a furniture store, among others.

Ruesink told a family member 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 the victim'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.

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