NW Minn. mayor accused of stealing disabled sister's money

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The mayor of Lake Park, about 30 miles east of Fargo, is facing a felony after allegedly spending money intended for his disabled sister's care.

The Fargo Forum reports Mayor Aaron Wittnebel, 32, was appointed guardian of his sister, who has Down syndrome, and conservator of her estate in Jan. 2011.

Court documents indicate that the assisted living facility, Divine House in Detroit Lakes, where Wittnebel's sister resides contacted Becker County Human Services in August 2012 to report Wittnebel was behind more than $6,000 is payments.

The Forum said Wittnebel later admitted to combining his sister's finances with his own and said he had only $100 in an account.

After Wittnebel was court ordered to account for his sister's funds, an investigator with the Becker County Sheriff's Office determined more than $5,400 was unaccounted for. The investigation also found questionable receipts for a laptop computer, wireless router and several large grocery bills, the Forum reported.

Wittnebel is charged with one count of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult and failure to provide care.

The mayor denies any wrongdoing and told the newspaper that he won't step down.

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