Minnesota pastor pleads not guilty to charges of swindling elderly woman

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A pastor from Southern Minnesota has pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges that he swindled an elderly woman with dementia, WDAY-TV reports.

The Rev. David DeFor is facing charges of financially exploiting a vulnerable adult after he was accused of swindling more than $42,000 from an 82-year-old woman with dementia.

Court records in Mower County Court allege Defor and his wife first received $11,000 from the woman after she gave the pastor her power of attorney in July 2010; and $15,000 to the Austin Church of Christ -- where DeFor is pastor -- at the time.

Another $21,000 was withdrawn by the woman from her account for expenses related to the pastor, authorities allege.

The Austin Daily Herald reports that the woman also rewrote her will in 2011 to leave 25 percent of her estate to Defor and his wife, and another 15 percent to the Church of Christ. The will also said the woman would leave her personal effects to the DeFors, including a 2002 Buick LeSabre as well as three bags of her jewelry, which the pastor kept at his home.

Mower County District Judge Fred Wellmann revoked the woman's will at a July 17 civil court hearing, the Herald reports, and DeFor was removed as power of attorney over her finances in May.

The judge also appointed Hope Guardianship Services permanent guardianship over the woman.

DeFor will be in Mower County District Court for a pretrial hearing in October and his trial date is set for Nov. 4.

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