Woman gets probation in financial exploitation case
A former area resident accused of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult has been sentenced to five years probation, 50 hours of community work service, and cannot work in a job that includes fiduciary responsibilities.
Ashley Loraine Marschel, formerly known as Ashley Dotzenrod, pleaded guilty in December to one felony count; in exchange for the plea, an identical exploitation charge and a single felony count of theft by swindle were dismissed.
Marschel, 29, of Apple Valley, entered an Alford plea in Olmsted County District Court. The plea means Marschel maintains her innocence, but acknowledges that the evidence would be sufficient to convict her.
The investigation began Sept. 27, 2013, when police were told by a Rochester financial institution that Marschel had deposited about $50,000 in checks written on the alleged victim's account into her own checking account. The victim was described in the criminal complaint as having "significant difficulty in speech and motor movements," as well as having seizures, all the result of a stroke several years ago.
The man required the assistance of others for basic needs, and had a power of attorney document to assist in financial matters, the report says, classifying him as a functional vulnerable adult.
In January 2011, the man named Marschel as his power of attorney; in May 2011, Marschel opened a joint savings account with the man.
According to the criminal complaint, the victim's former power of attorney said the victim was "frugal" and was "aware of Marschel's spending habits." The man set up the financial arrangement so if Marschel was going to be paid, he would have to write her the check. Since 2009, only one check has been written to Marschel, the records show.
When investigators spoke to the man in October 2013, he said Marschel had stolen his money.
Records obtained by law enforcement indicate Marschel made 143 transactions involving the victim's bank account from January 2011 to October 2013, for a total of more than $92,000.
Prior to January 2012, a credit card in the man's name was paid in full every month, the complaint says. From January 2012 to October 2013, records showed Marschel used the card 14 times, with purchases totaling about $11,800.
The man told investigators he hadn't given Marschel consent to use the card.
The combined check and credit card activity totals $103,864.