Man accused of swindling St. Francis couple out of $52,000

A man has been accused in Anoka County District Court of swindling a St. Francis couple out of $52,000.

Robert Lee Thompson, 28, is due back in court Oct. 24 on five felony charges, three counts of theft by swindle (over $35,000, over $5,000 and over $1,000 but not more than $5,000, respectively) and one count each of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult and financial transaction card fraud.

Thompson has posted the $30,000 in bail that was set at his arraignment on the charges Sept. 25. A no contact order has been issued by the court.

According to the complaint, the incidents occurred between Jan. 1 2009 and July 16 of this year.

In late June, St. Francis Police officers responded to a residence on a report of theft and unauthorized use of a credit card.

Officers met with a couple and Thompson, who had power of attorney over them, after the couple had allegedly discovered that someone had used their credit card to make purchases without their consent.

The wife alleged that Thompson never had permission to use their credit card, nor did he have access to their financial accounts, but he helps them with their business affairs along with taking care of her husband, who has medical issues.

The woman alleged she gave Thompson $12,000 to facilitate a silent partnership with the owner of a restaurant in St. Francis and he handled all the paperwork, telling them would receive residuals once the business made a profit.

When police spoke to Thompson, he alleged he was a partial owner of the restaurant, not the couple, and she had given him $2,000.

But police found there was no such silent partnership agreement with the restaurant owner for either the couple or Thompson, according to the complaint.

Thompson allegedly admitted he had used the couple’s credit card without their permission and that he did deceive them when he made up the story about the business investment.

He allegedly told police that he had only swindled $1,000 from the couple, using it for himself, and he was also responsible for using the credit card without permission for a total amount of $1,000.

When police spoke to the couple’s sons, they allegedly described Thompson as a con man, who had told their parents that he was an Iraq War veteran, the recipient of six Purple Hearts, that he was wounded in action and had got cancer from all the chemicals used in the war.

The sons told police that their parents had allowed Thompson to move into their home so they could help him.

The complaint alleges that Thompson was in the U.S. Army for seven weeks from Nov. 12, 2003 to Jan. 7, 2004 and was discharged for failing to meet medical fitness standards.

When he confronted his parents, one of the sons alleged that Thompson told him to mind his own business and his mother said she believed Thompson because of all his medals, his uniform and official documents that he was in the Army.

The other son contacted police again Aug. 8 very concerned about his parents’ well-being and stating that his parents are vulnerable, according to the complaint.

He alleged that Thompson had persuaded his mother that she had to pay a $40,000 fine to the FBI for video piracy.

The complaint alleges that the couple’s bank confirmed that the couple had just closed on a loan of $40,000 and documents showed that it was to pay a fine for copying movies.

A cashier’s check was allegedly written to Thompson for $20,000 and the other check was placed in the couple’s bank account, which the woman withdrew in cash in amounts of $5,000 until the money was gone.

According to the complaint, police contacted the FBI, who confirmed that the couple had never been investigated, nor does it send out letters demanding money.

In addition, a woman told police that Thompson had allegedly given her permission to drive and keep the couple’s Cadillac.

The total amount taken from the couple totals $52,000 and the credit card was used to make purchases from the computer in the residence, the complaint alleges.

In a non-custodial interview, Thompson allegedly admitted he had power of attorney over the couple because the husband has a bad heart and had seizures, heart attacks, open heart surgeries and he is getting dementia.

Peter Bodley is at
peter.bodley@ecm-inc.com

 

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