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Woman accused of exploiting ill family friend in Mower County

AUSTIN — An Idaho woman is expected to make her first appearance in a Minnesota courtroom on Thursday after being accused of stealing more than $60,000 from a woman she was hired to help.

Kathy Marie Schafer, 41, of Blackfoot, Idaho, has been charged in Mower County District Court with two counts of felony financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult.

According to the criminal complaint, Schafer and a cousin of the victim were appointed to act as co-powers of attorney for the 76-year-old woman in July 2012.

The alleged victim needed assistance because she was undergoing medical treatment, was very sick, had a poor memory and was unable to walk, the report says.

The woman told investigators she'd opened her financial accounts in April 2010 with about $120,000. In June 2013, there was about $118,000 left, she said.


After allegedly discovering several unauthorized checks and withdrawals on her accounts in November 2013, she closed them. There was about $61,150 remaining, the complaint says.

Schafer said she took care of the woman's medical needs, paperwork, storage units and personal property; she told investigators the victim's attorney suggested she pay herself $25 per hour.

According to the criminal complaint, Schafer issued seven checks to herself, totaling $37,500; made payments to Barclaycard US totaling $9,785; paid Citicards $8,102; and made a $2,000 payment to Chase. In addition, the complaint says, cash withdrawals in the amount of $1,500 and $2,000 were made.

Schafer said the alleged victim wanted to go camping, so Schafer wrote herself a $3,000 check to buy equipment for a camper that had not yet been purchased. According to the complaint, Schafer said the victim would pay for a camper until Schafer and her husband "got their credit in order." Schafer then wrote herself a check for $15,000 to buy the camper.

The camper is registered to Schafer and her husband, and is in Midland, Texas, the report says.

Schafer told investigators the $8,102 was a loan that she intended to pay back within a year, but didn't say if the $37,500 were her fees to assist the alleged victim.

She said the camper will be sold and the money will go back to the victim.

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

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