Waseca woman accused of stealing up to $25K from vulnerable adult

A Waseca woman is accused of stealing up to $25,000 from a vulnerable adult in her care.

Erin Maureen Tate, 45, was charged last week in Waseca County Court with two felony counts of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult and misdemeanor theft by swindle.

According to a criminal complaint, the victim, a vulnerable adult male, received a Veteran’s Affairs back payment of $15,986 in October 2022 that was mistakenly directly deposited into his account.  His public health case manager became concerned when she noticed charges for airfare and travel and saw that Tate’s name had been added to his bank accounts. The case manager also learned that Tate was allegedly compensating herself from the victim’s checking account for his care, while also receiving pay from MRCI for her contracted hours. The complaint says the case manager encountered Tate and a younger female at a Waseca restaurant on a date and time that she had claimed she was providing services for the victim and collected pay from MRCI.

Veteran’s Affairs first contacted the Waseca Police Department about the case in December 2022 after a field examiner conducted a scheduled visit with the male victim.  The examiner learned the victim appeared “very scruffy” in appearance. The victim told the examiner that Tate controlled his banking cards and he did not have access. Tate allegedly told the examiner she was the victim’s power of attorney and that she had incurred $39,920 in care provider expenses.

Investigators subpoenaed the victim’s banking records and found that the spending on his accounts changed dramatically between September and November 2022 after he received the $15,000 payment. The complaint says Tate made $12,145.81 in purchases for her personal use in October 2022.  Her purchases in November 2022 totaled $13,131.83, according to the charging document.

The complaint details the items Tate bought allegedly using the victim’s money.  Her purchases ranged from clothing for women and men, items for her dogs, personal hygiene products, furniture, and household items.  There were three checks made payable to Tate for $12,500 total, and $4,200 in travel expenses.  Court documents say Tate owns a painting business and made a $173 purchase at Sherwin Williams.  She also made a $850 rent payment using the victim’s check, according to the complaint.

Detectives learned that Tate was listed as the victim’s attorney-in-fact, but he did not authorize her to make gifts to herself or her family.

A search warrant executed on the Amazon account used to make $3,456.24 in purchases during October and November 2022 revealed that the victim’s name and debit card were used on the account, but Tate’s address and name were used for shipping.

Police say many of the purchases appeared to be specifically for Tate and had no benefit to the victim.

Tate is due in court for her first appearance on May 30.

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