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Woman accused of financial exploitation

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AUSTIN — An Austin woman made her first appearance Thursday in Mower County District Court, where she's been accused of stealing more than $4,000 from a relative.

Shelley Lynn Hernandez, 31, faces one count of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult, a felony. Her next court date has been set for Feb. 4.

The investigation began in August, when a woman told police she believed Hernandez was swindling another woman. Hernandez had taken financial advantage of the victim before, the criminal complaint says.

Hernandez told a detective she was "really behind on bills" and spent the woman's money on her own car payments, her own cellphone and food for her own family, court documents say. She allegedly admitted she knew of the victim's cognitive disabilities and knew what she was doing was wrong.

The reports say Hernandez once used the victim's income tax refund to take a trip to Mexico.

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The woman told investigators she felt pressured and guilty if she refused Hernandez's requests for money, the complaint says, but didn't feel threatened by her.

Bank records indicate Hernandez took $4,453.47 from the victim since March 2014.

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