City Council Member Accused of Stealing from Dying Father

Updated: 01/29/2013 10:17 PM By: Nick Winkler

Leann Sargent, Maple Grove, has been charged with exploiting a vulnerable adult.

Sargent was just re-elected to Maple Grove's city council in November. Besides charging her dying father for rent and personal services, prosecutors say she stole more than $150,000 from him.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman calls Sargent's actions disturbing and says Sargent spent some of the money on handbags and spa visits.

Senior abuse is on the rise.

It's why there is now a statewide effort to spot and stop elder abuse.

SAFE, or stop abuse and financial exploitation, is an initiative being spearheaded by the Anoka County Attorney's office. County Attorney Tony Palumbo and several partners are creating an online tool kit that'll help police, prosecutors, and community leaders reduce instances of elder abuse.

Despite stealing tens of thousands of dollars at a time, prosecutors say Sargent filed for bankruptcy.

She refused to speak with us but her lawyer says she's not guilty.

If convicted, Sargent could be placed on probation.