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By LeAnn R. Ralph
MENOMONIE — A Dunn County judge has found probable cause and has bound a 51-year-old Wheeler woman over for trial on seven felonies related to financial crimes against the elderly.
Lori K. Feyen, along with her attorney, Kerry Kelm, appeared before Judge Rod Smeltzer in Dunn County Circuit Court June 16 for a preliminary hearing.
Feyen is charged with seven felonies that all include the modifier of a crime against an elderly or disabled person. The felonies include fraudulent financial card use of over $10,000; theft of movable property valued between $10,000 and $100,000; two counts of forgery; theft of movable property; misappropriating an identification to obtain money; and criminal damage to property over $2,500.
Boyceville Police Chief Greg Lamkin was the only witness called to testify.
Dunn County Assistant District Attorney Megan Kelly is the prosecutor for the case.
Police Chief Lamkin testified that his initial contact with the case was the report of some furniture missing from a residence in Boyceville on River Road.
The police chief said he spoke with a court-appointed guardian and obtained financial records for the alleged victims. The court-appointed guardian said money to pay for housing at The Neighbors of Dunn County for the elderly couple was missing from their bank account, Police Chief Lamkin said.
Upon examining the financial records, Police Chief Lamkin observed that Feyen, who was initially the guardian for the elderly couple, had written out checks to herself and had made ATM withdrawals from their bank account.
Feyen is the elderly couple’s daughter and was in charge of their finances and had access to their checking account and other bank accounts, he said.
In August of 2019, Police Chief Lamkin said he received reports of damage to the elderly couple’s house.
Before Feyen had been told to leave, she had let a dozen goats into the house, and they had defecated all over the interior, he said.
The checks that were written out to Feyen were either signed by Feyen or by her parents, but the parents were not competent to sign checks, Police Chief Lamkin said.
The checks amounted to thousands of dollars between 2018 and 2019, he said.
The ATM withdrawals also had a pattern of $200 in cash withdrawn several days in a row, with thousands of dollars being withdrawn through the ATM, Police Chief Lamkin said, adding that he believed the maximum withdrawal amount was $200.
The elderly couple could not have made the ATM withdrawals because they were living at The Neighbors of Dunn County and would not be able to leave the nursing home to go to an ATM machine, he said.
Between 2018 and 2019, checks worth $10,000 had been written out to the defendant, he said.
The elderly couple had a guardian because they were unable to make decisions about money, Police Chief Lamkin said.
Feyen came to the police chief’s office to speak with him, and when she was asked about the transactions, she said they were made to pay for her living expenses and to pay for caregivers, he said.
Police Chief Lamkin spoke with the caregivers, and one said she was paid only a small amount to help with the care of the elderly couple, and another said she was a friend of Feyen’s and helped with giving care as a friend and was not paid as a caregiver.
Feyen admitted to writing the checks to herself, and she admitted to making the ATM withdrawals, Police Chief Lamkin said.
Kelm, Feyen’s attorney, asked when the court-appointed guardianship had gone into effect.
Police Chief Lamkin said he believed the guardian had been appointed in July of 2019.
Kelm wondered why the police chief had been reviewing financial transactions from 2018 if the guardian was not appointed until 2019, but the police chief pointed out that Feyen had been acting as the guardian in 2018.
Upon questioning from Kelm, Police Chief Lamkin admitted that he had not talked to Feyen’s parents in 2018 and was not able to say if they had their mental faculties in 2018.
Feyen was acting under a power of attorney in 2018, he said.
Under further questioning from Kelm, Police Chief Lamkin also acknowledged that people can go into a nursing home with their mental faculties fully intact.
The police chief noted that he had talked with Feyen’s mother at The Neighbors and that she had been confused and did not seem to know what he was talking about.
Based on the preliminary hearing, Judge Smeltzer found probable cause that a felony had been committed and bound Feyen over for trial.
Feyen is scheduled for an arraignment hearing in Dunn County Circuit Court at 9:30 a.m. August 21.