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Couple faces felony charges for taking relative's farm income

WILLMAR -- A Richfield couple made their first appearance Monday in Kandiyohi County District Court on felony charges for allegedly taking an elderly relative's farm rental income and not reporting it to family services.

Duaine Gene Vander Bill, 68, and Kathlyn Faye Vander Bill, 59, were released on their personal recognizance. Both make their next court appearance on Dec. 16.

Duaine Vander Bill faces one felony charge for wrongfully obtaining assistance and Kathlyn Vander Bill faces four felony charges of wrongfully obtaining assistance, perjury and financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult.

According to the complaint, the couple has had power of attorney for Duaine's mother since 1997.

In August 2002, they applied to Kandiyohi County Family Services for medical assistance on her behalf. The couple were obligated to report all income and expenses for her care.

In May 2008, family services officials received an anonymous tip that Duiane Vander Bill was bragging about farm rental income from land owned by his parents. An investigation revealed that his mother had a life estate of 70.5 acres of farmland, but that the Vander Bills received the income from the land and spent it as if it was their own money.

The income was not reported to family services.

As a result, family services had overpaid medical assistance of $33,714 from 2002 to 2007.

Kathlyn Vander Bill had also signed renewal forms in June 2006 and July 2007 stating that the woman had no other income besides Social Security.