DAKOTA COUNTY, Minn. (KMSP) - A judge sentenced a Dakota County couple on Tuesday on charges of felony theft for stealing from their own elderly and ailing parents. The pair is ordered to pay back nearly $50,000 dollars in restitution.
The Dakota County Attorney says this case is another sad example of elderly financial abuse.
On Tuesday, Shannon Thompson and her husband, Ted, were convicted on a single count of felony theft, stealing from Shannon's mother, who was suffering from dementia.
The crime is dividing an already grieving family. Sarah Loewen still can't believe what her sister and brother-in-law did to shatter their once tight-knit, loving and trusting family.
"I think it was just their lifestyle,” said Sarah Loewen, a sister. “They wanted to live a nice lifestyle and they did."
The scheming dated back about three years when they moved into the parents’ home.
At that point, the father was dying of pancreatic cancer.
Fox 9 first met the family in 2014. Shannon and Ted Thompson then promised they would take care of their ailing parents, including the finances.
But investigators turned up a trail of theft, deceit and self-enrichment.
Siblings complained that Shannon and Ted were living outside their means - buying vehicles, taking fancy trips, and even having plastic surgery.
All the while, bills went unpaid.
After their father passed away, the bank foreclosed on their parents' long-time house.
"Shannon and I were very close,” said Sarah. “We all looked up to her and trusted her with everything. She took that trust away. I don't know if she can ever get that back."
The convicted family swindlers were sentenced to five days already served in jail, 30 days of electronic home monitoring, ten years of probation, and the judge ordered them to pay back more than $47,000 in restitution.
"There was a difficult financial situation prior to defendants getting in and it didn't get any better,” said Chris Perske, the defense attorney. "Mrs. Thompson loves her mother dearly. She loves her sisters, even though they are all estranged. She wanted to care for her mother and see their mother get the best that they could provide."
"Nobody really won in this situation,” said Sarah. “I lost my dad to cancer. I have lost my mom to dementia. Now, I have lost my sister and her entire family. That is so hard. I miss her. I have two sons she doesn't even know. I miss my nephews dearly. It feels like I have not much left."
The court battle is not over. Shannon and Ted Thompson are vowing to appeal the amount of restitution, arguing it was unfairly calculated.