A Mandan woman is accused of bilking $95,000 from a mentally disabled man for money she submitted in an online scam.
Geraldine Bellon, 73, was charged Friday with felony exploitation of an eligible adult, or a vulnerable person.
According to court documents, in November 2016, Vulnerable Adult Protective Services learned that Bellon was the victim of an online romance scam involving a correspondent named "Kevin Koot." The Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division also became involved in the investigation, which discovered she lost $75,000 in checks funneled to Nigeria.
In January 2017, she reported she "borrowed" $25,000 from the man to send to "Koot." The check was stopped before it cleared.
In December 2017, Vulnerable Adult Protective Services became involved in another incident involving Bellon, in which she reportedly admitted to taking $70,000 from the man's bank account.
By way of a blank check, she allegedly told the man he owed her money. He did reportedly owe her $30.
Bellon reportedly told Bismarck police she wrote the check knowing the man had $74,000 in his account, allegedly believing "he would be fine" with $4,000 left over.
Police interviewed the man, who apparently was unaware he was being exploited.
As both checks were halted, he reportedly didn't lose any money.
"Thank goodness, he didn't lose all that money," said Burleigh County Assistant State's Attorney Marina Spahr, who is prosecuting.