MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- A man allegedly squandered $6 million from his parents' estate before his mother died, leaving her on welfare in a nursing home for the final years of her life, prosecutors charged.
Karl Ernest Wilson, 51, and his wife, Veronica Denise Williams, 47, of Minneapolis, were each charged with a felony count of welfare fraud after the state paid $241,000 for the care of Wilson's mother, identified in court documents by her initials, N.H.W.
"My sense is that they just basically squandered it," said Pat Diamond, managing attorney of the special litigation division of the Hennepin County attorney's office.
Diamond said Wednesday that Karl Wilson, who lists himself on his Web site as a musician, photographer and music producer, is himself now on welfare.
Investigator Steve Halicki said he was unable to find out what happened to the money.
"The dollar amount is staggering," said Halicki, who works for the county's economic assistance fraud investigative unit. "The taxpayers lost a lot of money."
Halicki said Wilson's mother inherited a large fortune from her aunt, who was connected to the family that owned Deluxe Check Corp.
In 1991 the parents granted power of attorney to Karl Wilson, one of their five children, and his wife to manage their financial affairs. Karl Wilson and his wife were to pay for his parents' care with the money from their estate, which had an estimated value of $6 million in 1991, according to court records.
Wilson's parents moved into a nursing home in the summer of 1992.
Shortly after Wilson's father died in 1995, Karl Wilson and his wife made large withdrawals from the estate's bank account, the complaint alleges. The money was all gone by 1998, leaving "the then 79-year-old N.H.W. destitute, with only her Social Security benefits of $418.00 per month to live on," the complaint said.
The state then paid $241,000 for her care at a Crystal nursing home, where she stayed until she died in late December 2000.
The complaint alleges that Karl Wilson knew the state would pay for the care of his mother if her trust went bankrupt.
"It's a sizable fraud," Diamond said.
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