A Cadillac woman is accused of taking thousands from her elderly aunt and uncle.
Anna Hansen is charged with embezzlement from a vulnerable adult of $50,000 or more, but less than $100,000.
9&10’s Caroline Powers and photojournalist Jeremy Erickson have more details on what investigators say she was using the money for.
The Wexford County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office says that 67-year-old Anna Hansen was in charge of her 90-year-old aunt and uncle’s money.
And when Adult Protective Services noticed tens thousands of dollars being withdrawn at once, they contacted police.
“It’s very difficult to recoup any amount of money. That’s the terrible result.”
Anna Hansen had power of attorney over her elderly aunt and uncle’s finances.
But prosecutors say a new friendship online had her taking advantage of her power.
“She met a person on the computer who she befriended. We don’t know who that person really is but they made a request after contacting her to have money sent to them for a business venture in Ghana,” says Thomas Trautner, Wexford County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney.
Over a span of two months, Hansen wired more than $50,000 to a bank account in New York City.
“A lot of people in this situation who take money spend it directly on themselves,” says Trautner. “They don’t spend it on some unknown bank account to help a business venture of a person you never met on the Internet. So this one is unique in that capacity.”
But while falling victim to a possible scam, the prosecutor’s office says Hansen committed a felony.
“She was using it in an improper way and deprived them of it,” Trautner says.
And Michigan State Police say older people are too often victimized.
“The elderly seems to be targeted quite a bit,” says Trooper Mike Vranish. “Obviously monitor the money that not only comes in, but also goes out of their account. If they see something suspicious try to talk to the person to find out what happened with that money.”
Hansen faces up to 15 years in prison and will be back in court on August 23.