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Lyle man pleads not guilty to financial exploitation; victim owes health care facility over $60,000

Robert Jay Martinsen, 59, of Lyle was charged on Thursday in Mower County District Court with felony financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult-fail to provide care, felony financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult-use/manage/take property for benefit of someone else, and felony financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult-deprive property or resources for benefit of someone else.

He pleaded not guilty to all charges.

According to the court complaint, an agent of Mower County Human Services (MCHS) began an investigation in May regarding exploitation of a vulnerable adult, an elderly woman who had been admitted to a health care facility in 2016.

She learned the victim’s financial assets had been transferred from her joint accounts to accounts held solely by Martinsen, a relative who has Power of Attorney.

She also learned the victim’s nursing home bill had not been paid in several months.

Further investigation showed the victim’s late husband had reported $237,935.19 in assets on a Medical Assistance application in 2012, the complaint states. However, a Medical Assistance application Martinsen filled out for the victim in May said the victim had no assets or bank account and had not disposed of any items or income in the past 60 months.

Records indicated that Martinsen had transferred funds from the victim’s two credit union accounts into an account with only his name on it in October and November 2016, and that the victim’s savings and checking accounts had been transferred to an account with Martinsen’s name on it in February 2017. She also found the victim had stopped receiving social security checks in February 2017 and pension checks in April 2017.

The complaint further states that records indicated $373,091.38 had been deposited in the victim’s account since October 2012 and that she had paid $109,050.54 to the health care facility since her admission. In addition, the victim paid $1,058 in Medicare premiums between March 2017 and February 2018.

The victim had an outstanding bill of $60,776.26 from the health care center, and the MCHS agent determined the victim should have $262,982.84 in available assets.

The agent tried to meet with Martinsen, but he was uncooperative with the investigation, the complaint states.

Martinsen’s pre-trial is scheduled for Jan. 18.