Disabled man’s caregiver and her family face 107 felony charges
A Roberts couple and their daughter are facing a combined total of 107 felony charges in St. Croix County Circuit Court, including theft, forgery and obtaining prescription drugs by fraud, in connection with the care of a vulnerable adult who was rendered disabled in a 2005 motorcycle crash.
June M. Hicks, 53, and her husband Sammy L. Hicks, 62, both of Roberts, are charged with 17 felony counts of theft - movable property (special facts) as party to the crimes. June is also charged with 42 counts of felony obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. Their daughter, Courtney M. McConnach, 24, of River Falls, is facing 31 felony forgery charges.
Each charge carries a maximum penalty of six years in prison. All three family members are scheduled for initial appearances in St. Croix County Circuit Court at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 12.
According to St. Croix County Assistant District Attorney Michael Nieskes, this is an extremely large number of charges for one case in the experience of any county’s court system.
The charges are a result of an investigation by the St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO). According to the criminal complaint, the SCSO received a complaint on Oct. 8, 2013, from the St. Croix County Aging and Disability Resource Center consisting of two anonymous letters detailing the possible exploitation of a vulnerable adult, identified as Mark E. Weckwerth of Hudson.
According to investigators, Weckwerth was injured in a motorcycle crash in July 2005, which left him unable to care for himself. Weckwerth’s parents cared for him after the accident and his mother was appointed his guardian by the courts on Sept. 5, 2005. Around April of 2007, the Weckwerths hired June to help care for their son. According to the complaint, other caregivers for Weckwerth were hired in 2008.
After Weckwerth’s mother died on July 6, 2009, Weckwerth’s father and June were appointed co-guardians of Weckwerth and his estate by the circuit court. Records indicate that June took full control of Weckwerth’s care and finances in November 2009. Weckwerth’s father died on Oct. 21, 2012; June then became Weckwerth’s sole guardian and manager of his estate.
The SCSO hired a forensic accountant to review Weckwerth’s and the Hicks’ financial records from 2005 to the present after receiving the ADRC complaint. The accountant’s findings showed that June allegedly wrote checks from October 2009 through November 2013 totalling $114,858.18 to herself and others for Weckwerth’s care from his accounts, plus checks for unidentified expenses.
Hours paid for care
From Oct. 23, 2009, through Dec. 31, 2009, Hicks allegedly paid herself and other caregivers for 623 more hours than what would be required to care for Weckwerth around the clock. This included checks made out to June by herself for about 683 hours of care, in addition to 192 hours paid for care from Weckwerth’s father’s bank account.
June was allegedly paid for 773 hours of care in 2010, above and beyond working 40 hours a week for 52 weeks. According to investigators, who interviewed other caregivers, June was only seen working at Weckwerth’s home a couple of times per week.
According to the complaint, June was paid for about 1,786 hours of Weckwerth’s care in 2011. Interviews with other caregivers again indicate that June worked maybe twice per week.
As for 2012, records show caregivers were paid approximately 2,373 more hours for around the clock care than what is required for 24/7 care for 366 days (a leap year). June was allegedly paid for 1,146 hours of care from both Weckwerth’s and his father’s bank accounts. Investigators learned from other caregivers that June was allegedly not working more than twice a week.
From Jan. 1, 2013, through Nov. 30, 2013, caregivers were allegedly shorted 134 hours of pay required for 24/7 care. June was paid for 614 hours during those 334 days.
According to the accountant, June was depositing the income into her joint checking account with Sammy from 2009-2013. The couple apparently made mortgage payments for their residence from this account.
From October 2009 through November 2013, June allegedly made many, undocumented withdrawals from Weckwerth’s account, ranging from $47 to $2,100.
The forensic accountant’s investigation also showed that June paid other caregivers, noted as her employees in the criminal complaint, in 2012 for the care of other people from Weckwerth’s account, including a Lakeland, Minn., woman and a Roberts patient.
According to interviews by investigators, Weckwerth had purchased a Chevrolet Avalanche prior to his accident. At the time of his accident, the truck had about 1,700 miles on it. After Weckwerth’s mother died, many people reported that June regularly drove Weckwerth’s truck.
When a search warrant was executed on May 15, Weckwerth’s truck was found in the Hicks’ driveway with about 30,000 more miles on it than the 1,700 reported at the time of Weckwerth’s crash. According to the complaint, June allegedly admitted to investigators that she regularly used the vehicle.
According to the complaint, on April 18, 2013, the courts authorized the withdrawal of Mark Weckwerth’s $120,000 pension with the order that June pay off Weckwerth’s outstanding mortgage. The check was deposited into Weckwerth’s account on April 29, 2013. However, no payments were made on Weckwerth’s mortgage between Sept. 6, 2012, and Dec. 31, 2013. The home went into foreclosure, property taxes were left unpaid and the homeowner’s insurance policy lapsed due to nonpayment.
McConnach, June’s daughter, faces 31 counts of felony forgery for allegedly forging June’s signature to write checks out to herself or her bank totaling about $13,930 from Weckwerth’s account from October 2012 through November 2013.
According to investigators, June said she was aware of the forged checks and had confronted her daughter about them. During an interview with investigators, McConnach allegedly said her mother never questioned her about the checks and she was using the money to pay for her cell phone, her car payment, partying and out at bars.
She allegedly told investigators she had “hit rock bottom,” was a “raging alcoholic” and was stealing the checks from her mother’s home.
Checks to Sammy Hicks
The criminal complaint indicates that in May 2013, June authorized a check from Weckwerth’s account in the amount of $6,000 to her husband Sammy. In July 2013, checks for $200 and $2,000 were allegedly written to Sammy by June from Weckwerth’s account.
June allegedly told investigators the money was being used to reimburse Sammy for payment of Weckwerth’s caregivers that had been made out of their joint account when problems with Weckwerth’s account prevented checks from clearing.
In October and November 2012, a total of $1,279.90 was used to pay for Sammy’s vehicle loan from Weckwerth’s account, according to the complaint.
According to the accountant’s findings, June wrote checks from Weckwerth’s account to multiple businesses that did not appear to relate to Weckwerth’s care between 2010 and 2013.
These businesses included restaurants and bars; retail stores such as Buy Buy Baby, Maurice’s and Victoria’s Secret, among others; gas stations, including some in Sioux Falls, S.D., and St. Paul, Minn.; T-Mobile, her family’s cell phone carrier (Weckwerth does not have a T-Mobile account); and Park High School Volleyball.
Receipts obtained for the purchases show items such as children’s clothing and shoes, lingeries, cosmetics, a pool and pool toys, Barbie dolls and candy, among other things, according to the complaint.
June signed for and picked up oxycodone prescriptions for Weckwerth from 2009 to 2013, according to the complaint. Caregivers for Weckwerth told investigators that none of them ever administered oxycodone to him between 2008 and 2014, though they administered other medications. A review of medication logs from Weckwerth’s residence made no mention of oxycodone.
June allegedly admitted to investigators that she has an addiction to pain medication, but told them she was destroying Weckwerth’s oxycodone and not taking it. She later allegedly said she destroyed most of it, but took some of it.
June picked up oxycodone prescriptions for Weckwerth at Family Fresh Pharmacy and Mickelsen Drug in Hudson a total of 40 times between Oct. 13, 2009, and Sept. 25, 2013. According to the report, each prescription refill contained 210 to 240 pills.