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Woodbury woman charged with misuse of vulnerable adult's income

A Woodbury woman faces three felony charges of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult.

Sandra Marjorie Petersen is accused of failure to pay thousands of dollars in home care bills for a dementia patient, whose Social Security income she receives to pay for full-time nursing care, according to a Washington County criminal complaint filed March 21.

If convicted, Petersen faces up to 25 years in prison and $50,000 in fines.

An employee at the Woodbury Health Care Center reported to Woodbury police in January that Petersen missed a number of payments over two years.

The patient receives a monthly total of $1,702 in Social Security income in a joint bank account, which is transferred into a joint account Petersen and the patient share.

The center established a monthly cost of $1,605 in 2015 due to the patient's receipt of medical assistance, leaving the patient with less than $97 remaining each month.

Petersen allegedly failed to pay the amount November 2015 through March 2016 and only made a partial payment April 2016, for a total of $9,299 in unpaid bills.

Although Petersen made several required down payments May through October 2016, she stopped making payments soon after and racked up more than $8,000 in unpaid bills.

Woodbury Health Care Center staff told police Petersen said that her paychecks were being garnished and she needed the patient's Social Security income to pay her bills.

Investigators who reviewed Petersen's account found regular spending on car payments, goods and bills, along with hundreds of dollars in cash withdrawals each month.

Petersen told investigators in February that she shares a home with two adult daughters and that all three work full time, but later said neither daughter works or helps pay bills following the investigation of her account.

Although Petersen agreed to contact the care home to arrange payments following her meeting with the investigator, the facility later told investigators that no arrangement had been made and they had not received any payments from Petersen.