NEW ULM - A 49-year-old Sleepy Eye woman originally charged with eight felony counts of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult and theft received a stay of execution for five years probation Friday in Brown County District Court.
Judge Greg Anderson ordered Ann M. LaCourse, who earlier pleaded guilty to charges, to pay $10,000 restitution at $834 a month starting next month, serve six days in the Brown County Jail, with work release. She was placed on five years probation, fined $1,080 and ordered to complete an assessment for a gambling addiction.
La Course spoke humbly after being sentenced.
"I want to apologize to my daughter, my family, friends, and the community," she said. "I take full responsibility for it. I want to make it right. I want to recover from this."
According to the complaint, Sleepy Eye Police investigated the case after receiving a report of an alleged vulnerable adult at risk/maltreatment from Brown County Family Services on April 28, 2011.
A foster parent of the alleged victim reported that the vulnerable adult's adoptive parents and legal guardians, Patrick and Ann LaCourse, did not provide a personal needs allowance for the alleged victim, a ward of the state of Minnesota, while she was living in a Willmar facility.
According to a Family Services report, the victim moved to Willmar to attend Ridgewater College, was working at Bethesda Pleasantview Nursing Home in Willmar and had opened checking and savings accounts at Bremer Bank in Willmar.
According to the report, the vulnerable adult's foster parent became suspicious that her money was being taken by LaCourse after the victim told her about not having any money in October 2010.
According to bank statements obtained from SouthPoint Federal Credit Union, the vulnerable adult's payroll checks were being direct deposited into a Sleepy Eye account.
The vulnerable adult said she remembered getting a 2010 W2 from Bethesda that showed she made more than $6,000 but claimed no access to the money, according to the report.
Sleepy Eye Police began collecting bank account information and learned the vulnerable adult's direct deposits were re-directed to Ann LaCourse's account.
Police learned that over 25 pay periods in 2010-2011, the vulnerable adult earned $10,025 in net pay, and 19 of the direct deposits, totaling $7,653.46 went to LaCourse's account.
They also learned that four direct deposits of Ridgewater College financial aid totaling $17,478.85 were deposited into a SouthPoint checking account, and that 55 checks signed by LaCourse were written to GMAC Financing and Chuck Spaeth Ford.
LaCourse told police the victim didn't own a car and that other checks from the account were used to pay her other daughter's utility bills and for a loan in the name of LaCourse and her spouse at First Security Bank, Sleepy Eye.
According to SouthPoint checking account bank records, many large cash withdrawals were made on the account at Mystic Lake, Jackpot Junction and Shooting Star Casinos, plus many internet gaming sites including after the vulnerable adult's financial aid was deposited at SouthPoint.
Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org