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Charges: Cottage Grove man swindled $50K from parents

Authorities say a Cottage Grove man swindled nearly $50,000 after being given control of family finances.

Benjamin J. Trussell was given the duty of paying bills for his father but then stole from numerous accounts, maxed out credit cards and gambled money away, according to allegations in a Washington County District Court criminal complaint.

Trussell was charged with two counts of theft by swindle, a felony.

According to the criminal complaint:

Trussell’s mother called police Dec. 19, 2013, to report that he had stolen money. She said Trussell’s father, who had since died, had given his son control of the family finances, including paying for utilities, around July 2012.

But when his mother tried to use her credit card for an online purchase, it was declined. The woman learned that  Trussell had been using the credit card to cover home utility bills, and that he had tapped a family savings account and used money from an equity line of credit taken out against the home.

Police worked with the woman to go over numerous financial accounts, concluding that she had lost $49,654.

Trussell admitted to his mother he had gambled the money away, according to the complaint.

Trussell had a March 26 court appearance and is next scheduled to be in court June 26.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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