An Albertville woman and her brother-in-law are facing felony charges after Wright County authorities have charged the couple with stealing more than $15,500 from his parents, residents of a Monticello nursing home.
According to the criminal complaints filed in Wright County District Court, Staci Lee Hochstedler, 45, of Albertville, and her brother-in-law, Keith John Hochstedler, 53, of Osseo, are each facing charges of theft and financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult/failure to provide care after Wright County investigators concluded an investigation into Keith Hochstedler’s parents’ finances in January of 2014.
The complaint states Kenneth Hochstedler and his wife, Lavonne, Keith’s parents, were in jeopardy of being evicted from their residence at Centra Care Nursing Home in Monticello due to unpaid bills.
Detectives also learned the couple’s son, Keith, had been appointed guardian and conservator for Kenneth in August 2012.
Through interviews, deputies from the Wright County Sheriff’s Office determined Staci Hochstedler, is related through marriages to Keith Hochstedler, had been handling the couple’s finances, “both before and after Keith’s appointment” as conservator.
Information provided by Centra Care showed Kenneth and Lavonne owed more than $37,000 in outstanding bills to the facility, and that despite numerous cash withdrawals from the elder Hochstedler’s accounts, those bills had not been paid.
Documents showed that between November 2012 and October 2013, Staci Hochstedler had withdrawn more than $15,500 in funds from the couple’s two accounts.
Under questioning, Staci Hochstedler told deputies she “had been paying various bills for the couple with her own credit card and/or personal checks, and made the withdrawals for reimbursement.”
However, further investigation into bank records showed the only bills being paid were those set up with so-called “bill pay” or automatic withdrawals, and weren’t, in fact, made by Staci Hochstedler.
Detectives concluded the money withdrawn hadn’t been used for bill payment “in some time.”
Both Staci Hochstedler and KeithHockstedler could face up to 20 years and jail and $40,000 in fines if convicted on both counts. Felony theft and the charge of financial exploitation (also a felony) each carry a maximum sentence of 10 years and/or $20,000 in fines.
Correction: This story has been corrected to change the relationship between Staci and Keith Hochstedler. North Wright County Today regrets the error and any confusion it might have caused readers.