Woman charged with elder abuse, theft


Last updated 1/9/2015 at 11:46am

A woman faces charges after she allegedly embezzled money from an elderly Hi-Line man.

Lisa L. Cole, whose age and place of residency were not available, was charged Dec. 30 with one count of elder abuse and one count of theft.

According to court documents, Cole was the alleged victim’s power of attorney, which means she had access to various finances.

The alleged victim went to the Hill County Sheriff's Office Oct. 3 and spoke with Deputy Peter Federspiel about an incident that occurred Oct. 1.

The court documents go on to say that Cole withdrew $18,000 Oct. 1from the alleged victim’s bank account at Independence Bank without permission. A withdrawal slip from the bank that documented this transaction was provided.

Federspiel then contacted Independence Bank and spoke with the banker who handled the transaction. The individual said that Cole told her that the alleged victim had been in a car accident, suffered from dementia, made withdrawals and forgot what he did with the money.

Cole allegedly told the teller that she was going to withdraw the money from the account and then put small amounts back into the account for his use. The individuals also said that Cole provided documents that she was the alleged victim’s power of attorney and that is why the transaction was completed.

After visiting Independence Bank, Federspiel spoke with an individual from Adult Protective Services about the incident. It was learned that the alleged victim was not in a car accident and that he was functioning properly. The individual from APS added that the alleged victim made a loan to Cole in the amount of $6,400 so that Cole could purchase a motorhome.

Federspiel spoke with the alleged victim Oct. 10 concerning this loan. The alleged victim indicated that he gave Cole $3,400 to be used toward the motorhome and that he took an additional $3,000 to Kalispell to complete the purchase for her. Cole then allegedly took possession of the motorhome and registered it under her name. The alleged victim also said Cole never attempted to pay him back for this loan and that she told him she wanted him to move out of his house, which is located in Hill County. Federspiel obtained a letter and receipt concerning the purchase of this motorhome.

Federspiel then reviewed a debt document from Cole to the alleged victim in the amount of $10,000, for the motorhome and other money borrowed. Federspiel also reviewed the alleged victim’s bank statements concerning APS. It was found that there were several withdrawals, including a separate $10,000 withdrawal that appeared right before the withdrawals for the motorhome.

The alleged victim told Federspiel that while he was moving, he noticed that he was missing a band saw, bench grinder and drill press, along with $2,500 that he kept in a safe in his vehicle. He noted that Cole was one of the only people who knew the money in the safe existed and that he believed she stole his tools. He also stated that he was missing an additional $8,000 in cash that he suspected Cole stole as well.

If convicted, Cole faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.

Her arraignment is set for Jan. 22 at 9:30 a.m. at the Hill County Courthouse.


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