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Gaylord mayor charged with financial exploitation of wheelchair-bound stepfather

Don Boeder, Gaylord Mayor

(Gaylord, MN) – The mayor of Gaylord is facing felony criminal charges, accused of bilking his wheelchair-bound stepfather out of thousands of dollars between 2016 and 2018.

Mayor Donelly (Don) Edward Boeder, 60, of Gaylord was charged in Sibley County Court one felony count of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult.

Court documents say that Boeder’s stepfather – the victim – has suffered two strokes, is wheelchair bound, and lives in assisted living.

According to the criminal complaint, Boeder began handling his stepfather’s expenses as Power of Attorney in July 2016.  The victim’s wife had passed away that same month, and she had named him as the beneficiary of two life insurance policies she owned.   Boeder deposited two life insurance checks totaling $29,952 into his stepfather’s account on September 17, 2016 and October 5, 2016, according to the complaint.  But investigators say Boeder withdrew $30,000 from with two separate checks made out to cash just days after each withdrawal.  The checks were endorsed by Boeder, and the cash supposedly placed in a safety deposit box by him, according to the criminal complaint.

Court documents say that the victim complained to his pastor in April 2018 that his stepson was taking funds from him without permission.  A new Power of Attorney was appointed for the victim in May 2018.  When the new POA demanded the $30,000 in cash taken from the victim’s checking account, Boeder returned just $11,000, according to court documents.  Investigators and the new POA reviewed the victim’s finances and determined that $4,300 of that cash was used to pay expenses for the assisted living facility where the victim resides, leaving $15,200 in cash unaccounted.

Boeder told investigators that another $6,500 of the funds had been used to pay for a new roof at his cabin, and that his stepfather had given him the money as a gift.  His stepfather initially denied the gift, but later said he “might have” agreed to it, and wasn’t sure, according to the complaint.

Police say that $8,700 was still unaccounted for, even if the roof money was given to Boeder.  Financial records indicate that recurring monthly payments and living expenses were being withdrawn from the victim’s checking account, and investigators, therefore, do not believe the unaccounted cash was used for day-to-day living.

Boeder is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday, March 28th.

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