John Francis Mullen Jr., 57, Cushing, was charged in Morrison County District Court Feb. 14 with one felony count each of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult – failing to provide care and financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult – using, managing or taking property for the benefit of someone else.
Mullen was appointed as the power of attorney July 14, 2011, for the victim. He was given the power to manage this person’s business and financial affairs. As power of attorney, Mullen had been required by law to keep records of all financial transactions on behalf of the person.
The 91-year-old victim lives in an assisted living facility and is considered a vulnerable adult by Morrison County Social Services. In September 2013, Social Services received a report that Mullen had not been paying for the victim’s care was in arrears more than $10,000.
Social Services began an investigation as to why Mullen, as power of attorney, was not paying for the services provided.
The victim’s financial records showed Mullen used his authority to write many checks to himself, allegedly forging the victim’s signature. The criminal complaint said the checks were used to purchase items and services for himself, such as cellphone services and satellite TV.
In an interview, the victim said she does not see her bank statements and is unaware what Mullen is doing with her money. She also told an investigator she did not know her cost of care was not being paid for.
According to the criminal complaint, the victim became tearful when she thought she would have no place to go and she wanted Mullen removed as her power of attorney.
In a taped interview with Little Falls Police, Mullen did not have a good explanation for writing the checks to himself other than claiming they were for repairs to the victim’s home. He did provide receipts to prove his allegations.
Mullen allegedly admitted some of the money was used to take care of himself and did not benefit the victim in any way. He said he signed his name to the checks, but said he did it in front of the victim, with her permission.
Staff at the victim’s assisted living facility said Mullen was rarely there.
The investigation by Social Services showed Mullen wrote dozens of checks from the victim’s account between January 2013 through October 2013 and that allegedly, a majority of those checks did not benefit the victim. It was determined that as a result of this exploitation, Mullen stole more than $19,000 from the victim.
If convicted, Mullen faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine.