APPLETON — The case against a former guardian who police say bilked hundreds of thousands of dollars from the disabled and elderly is now two years old — and in limbo.
Jeffrey M. Schend, 46, was scheduled to stand trial in August in Outagamie County court on 27 charges, including 15 felony theft counts. On Friday, Judge Gregory Gill took the trial off the calendar as attorneys continue to work through records of Schend’s financial dealings.
It was the fourth time Schend’s trial was postponed.
The defense is waiting to obtain Schend’s personal spreadsheets and compare them to the findings of a forensic accountant. Both sides said it’ll be a daunting task.
“You’re talking about thousands of transactions,” District Attorney Carrie Schneider said.
Ironically, Schend demanded a speedy trial in the earliest stages of the case.
His trial was first scheduled for September 2011, but a judge granted prosecutors a postponement to allow for accounting work. Trial dates were then scheduled in January, March and August of last year, but were delayed. The case also was set back when Schend changed attorneys.
His current attorney, Theresa Schmieder, said Friday that setting a new trial date is difficult because she doesn’t have all the evidence she needs to prepare. “From that point, I could be ready in 90 to 120 days,” she said.
Gill said he will hold a conference with attorneys in August to discuss the case.
Authorities say Schend took nearly $500,000 from his clients.
Guardians are appointed by courts to oversee assets when it is determined that individuals are unable to manage their finances. The investigation of Schend began after Outagamie County officials received complaints in late 2010 that bills weren’t being paid.
An accountant used banking records to piece together all of the money that came in and left Schend’s accounts through 2010.
Schend’s former business, JMS Guardianship Services, could have collected $51,000 in fees from his clients in 2010. His personal spending alone reached nearly $165,000 that year, records show. In addition to personal expenses in 2010, the accountant determined that Schend spent $84,000 on business-related expenses, or more than $33,000 in excess of his total possible business income.
An investigator with the Social Security Administration determined Schend misused more than $114,000 by the time he was removed from working for clients who received those funds, the criminal complaint says.
— Jim Collar: 920-993-1000, ext. 216, or firstname.lastname@example.org; On Twitter @JimCollar