July trial expected in case of Jeffrey M. Schend, former Appleton guardian charged with theft of elderly, disabled clients (WI)


APPLETON — A former Appleton guardian accused of stealing from his elderly and disabled clients is expected to go to trial in July.

Jeffrey M. Schend, 45, appeared in Outagamie County Court today for a status conference on six felony counts of theft and one misdemeanor theft count.

Judge Gregory Gill Jr. told attorneys the case would likely go to trial in July, though didn’t immediately set dates for the trial, which is expected to last a week.

♦ Special report: Jeffrey M. Schend guardianship case

As a guardian, Schend was appointed by county judges to handle finances for elderly and disabled people deemed incompetent to manage their own affairs.

Officials weren’t able to account for about $500,000 from the estates of his former clients.

The trial had been scheduled to begin today, though was delayed based on the continuing investigation. Outagamie County hired a forensic accountant to review Schend’s finances.

The review was recently completed, and attorneys are expected to meet with the accountant as soon as next week.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Melinda Tempelis said it’s still likely prosecutors would file additional charges against Schend before the case reaches trial.

An investigation began after county officials started receiving complaints in late 2010 that client bills weren’t being paid.

The county hired attorney Douglas Hahn to review the finances of four of Schend’s clients to look for inconsistencies.

One of Schend’s clients was missing nearly $168,000 from a trust fund. The money was transferred to one of Schend’s business accounts at Associated Bank, records show. Schend had two accounts at the bank at the time of Hahn’s review.

One was overdrawn. One contained just $126.

Based on the elderly man’s cost of living, there should have been about $110,000 available, records stated.

One of Schend’s former employees told police Schend boasted about traveling first-class and took one or two expensive vacations each year. She said he owned a boat and a Mercedes-Benz that he later traded for a Cadillac.

Another former employee said Schend gambled often, bought watches and clothes frequently and had his home remodeled. At the end of 2010, the employee said, she started taking calls from people complaining his business was not paying its bills.

Schend is free from custody on a signature bond.


July trial expected in case of Jeffrey M. Schend, former Appleton guardian charged with theft of elderly, disabled clients
Jim Collar
March 12, 2012
Appleton Post-Crescent