LeAnn Sargent, Maple Grove councilwoman, charged with stealing from dying dad
Sargent is Maple Grove's longest-tenured council member.
LeAnn Sargent, a Maple Grove councilwoman since 1991, will continue to serve on the council despite being charged with stealing thousands and thousands of dollars from her dying dad and lying about it under oath.
Sargent, 62, was reelected for another term in November, a month after news of law enforcement's investigation first made headlines. In the eyes of Maple Grove voters, you really are innocent until proven guilty, apparently.
Sargent's father died last March. Her brother first sensed something was awry when he accessed his father's "significantly funded" trust after his death and found less than $400 in there.
A Fox 9 report tells the story from there:
[Between 2008 and last March] investigators found bank records showing more than $97,000 worth of cash advances, checks from her father's account totaling over $76,000, and unusual purchases and expenses totaling over $86,000 -- including payments to local spas, realtor-related payments and handbag purchases.
Investigators found that Sargent had several written agreements with her father, including a Personal Care Agreement that stated Bobleter would pay his daughter $1,500 each month for personal care services that included meal preparation, laundry, transportation, housekeeping, errand running, banking, bill payment, bathing, grooming and dressing. He also signed a Room and Board agreement that tacked on an additional $500 per month.
A review of financial records show that though Sargent should have received $24,000 through those agreements, but the charges claim she paid herself "substantially more." Between April 2011 and March 2012, she withdrew about $18,250 in cash from Bobleter's checking and money market accounts and took about $6,000 in cash advances from her father's Visa in addition to paying herself over $26,000 in checks.
Sargent and her husband declared bankruptcy in 2011. In court filings, they made no mention of the income Sargent was receiving from her dying dad.
She's been charged with two counts of perjury and two counts of exploiting a vulnerable adult, but will continue to serve on the Maple Grove City Council for the time being since the charges don't involve misappropriation of public funds. Maple Grove's city administration told WCCO that Sargent is innocent until proven guilty, though her colleagues could ask her to step down.
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