Parents charged with stealing from disabled soldier son

7:11 AM, Jun 4, 2010   |    comments
Photo courtesy: Eau Claire Leader-Telegram
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis.-- The parents of a soldier severely injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq are charged with felony theft for allegedly stealing from his guardianship accounts.

Authorities say 51-year-old Lori Nault and her husband Michael, also 51, misappropriated at least $167k from accounts set up to care for their son Shane, who suffered major brain injuries while serving with the US Army in May of 2007. Shane's parents were named his guardians as he is unable to make sound decisions, and requires 24 hour care.

A criminal complaint says the Naults used large amounts of money set aside for Shane to gamble, buy a truck, and travel. That money came from government checks, military pay grants, insurance policies and funds raised through benefits and donations for Shane.

Forensic accountants found a number of additional accounts set up by Lori and Michael Nault, allegedly to divert and hide money. They also uncovered large ATM withdrawl receipts and copies of checks written at casinos in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and West Virginia.

The criminal complaint estimates the couple spent nearly $70k  on gambling between 2007 and 2008.  

The Naults told investigators they are unemployed. An audit by the forensic accountants shows that Shane's money was used to pay all of their living expenses in 2007 and 2008. While draining their son's accounts for their use, prosecutors say Michael and Lori Nault failed to pay Shane's bills.

If found guilty of felony theft, Michael and Lori Nault could each face ten years in prison, $25k in fines, or both.

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