Kliethermes couple charged in Cole County with misuse of nearly $73,000

By Neal A. Johnson, UD Editor
Posted 3/27/24

COLE COUNTY   — Holly and Michael Kliethermes of Linn were charged in Cole County on March 19 and March 21, respectively, with financial exploitation of an elderly or disabled person. …

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Kliethermes couple charged in Cole County with misuse of nearly $73,000


COLE COUNTY  — Holly and Michael Kliethermes of Linn were charged in Cole County on March 19 and March 21, respectively, with financial exploitation of an elderly or disabled person. Michael Kliethermes also faces a charge of misappropriation of funds of an elderly nursing home resident. The charges stem from years of alleged misuse of Michael’s father’s funds.

According to documents filed with the court, it began after Michael Kliethermes obtained Durable Power of Attorney over his father on Nov. 4, 2021. The couple then used the victim’s funds, totaling $72,903.59, for personal gain and neglected the responsibility of paying for the victim’s nursing home care.

On Oct. 18, 2023, the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services (DHSS) Office of Special Investigations received a referral alleging financial exploitation of the victim. The referral alleged that Michael Kliethermes had not been paying for his father’s care at Stonebridge Senior Living. While Kliethermes made some payments, Stonebridge’s attempts to collect the debt through calls and emails went unanswered.

Stonebridge records indicate the victim has a bank account at Civic Central Credit Union. A subsequent subpoena of those records showed the victim has checking and saving accounts and a Visa card issued by Civic Central.

According to a probable cause statement, on Nov. 8, 2021, Michael Kliethermes began using his father’s bank account at Civic Central Credit Union Jefferson City to pay for his father’s Visa card. Kliethermes transferred money from his father’s savings account and used his father’s income to pay for the Visa card. Bank records show the credit card was used to make purchases at many places, including Amazon, Walmart, Sam’sClub, and Target while the victim was confined to the nursing home.

Sometime between Nov. 21, 2021, and July 21, 2022, the victim resided at Jefferson City Rehab and (now closed) General Baptist Nursing Home in Linn. During that time, Holly and Michael Kliethermes spent $38,585.05 of the victim’s money to pay for their Visa transactions. Michael Kliethermes also cashed two checks made out to his father totaling $3,400 and $241.29, respectively.

In July 2022, the victim moved from General Baptist Nursing Home to Stonebridge Senior Living in Jefferson City.

Documents filed with the court allege that on Oct. 31, 2023, Holly and Michael Kliethermes spent $26,931.54 of the victim’s funds to pay the Visa card. Michael Kliethermes also cashed two checks totaling $1,245.71 and received $2,500 cash back on two more checks.

According to a probable cause statement, Michael Kliethermes failed to pay more than $47,000 for nursing home care, instead using his father’s retirement, savings, and Social Security funds for personal gain. This allegedly occurred while Kliethermes’s father was confined to Stonebridge Senior Living.

On Nov. 9, 2023, DHSS Investigator Jeff Dampf interviewed the victim at Stonebridge Senior Living. In his report, he said the victim indicated his son, Michael, was supposed to be taking care of the nursing home bill. The victim was aware he owed Stonebridge Senior Living approximately $55,000. The victim further told Dampf he had not seen his son in six months and never gave his son permission to use his money.

During a Nov. 15, 2023, interview with Dampf, Michael Kliethermes admitted to cashing his father’s tax-return checks but maintained he used the money to buy his father “goodies.”

According to Dampf, Kliethermes admitted that he has had possession of his father’s Visa debit card since his father entered the nursing home in 2021. Kliethermes noted he was aware his father had a balance due of approximately $50,000 to the nursing home. When Dampf told him approximately $72,000 had been taken from his father’s account in cashed checks and Visa transactions, Michael Kliethermes then also blamed his wife, Holly. The current balance due to Stonebridge is $30,947.16.

Dampf requested video footage from eight recent Walmart and Sam’s Club transactions found on the victim’s bank records. Though video coverage did not exist, Walmart sent Dampf still photos and receipts showing what was purchased — mostly grocery items and gift card purchases — indicating both Michael and Holly benefited from the victim’s funds.

The photos of the transactions showed a white female making all of the purchases. Dampf later identified Holly Kliethermes through a driver’s license photo.

According to court records, Rusk Bail Bonds posted a surety bond of $25,000 on March 20 for Holly Kliethermes after her arrest on Wednesday. She is due to appear in court before Judge Brian K. Stumpe at 9 a.m. on April 26.

Judge Stumpe issued an arrest warrant for Michael Kliethermes with a $25,000 bond. As of Monday, Brydon, Swearengen & England P. C attorney Scott Hamblin filed a motion on behalf of Michael Kliethermes to withdraw the warrant sworn out against him Hamblin noted that Kliethermes already posted one bond for his wife, and does not have the financial means to post another one in that amount. Instead, the motion requests the court withdraw the warrant and allow Michael Kliethermes to be released on his own recognizance. Hamblin suggested in his motion that Kliethermes is not a flight risk and would abide by any conditions set by the court, including placing the Kliethermes in the custody of a designated person or organization agreeing to supervise him; placing restrictions on travel, association or place of abode; requiring the Kliethermes to report to an officer of the court or peace officer as the court directs; placing him on house arrest with electronic monitoring; requiring him to comply with a specified curfew; and requiring him to refrain from possessing a firearm.