Maple Grove councilor pleads guilty family finance case

Maple Grove City Councilor Leann Sargent was back in court Wednesday, Feb. 5, for a plea hearing in Hennepin County District Court. Court records show that there was a petition to enter a guilty plea.

Sargent, 63, was charged with financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult. She was charged back in January 2013.

According to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, the charge stemmed from her using her ailing father’s bank account, credit cards and other assets.

Sargent’s father, Robert E. Bobleter, lived with her from February 2010 until his death in March 2012. During that time, a room and board agreement was signed and notarized that Bobleter would play $500 a month for room and board. A personal care agreement was also made that stated, “Bobleter agreed to pay Sargent $1,500 a month for personal care services, including meal preparation, laundry, transportation, housekeeping, errand running, banking/bill paying, grocery shopping and bathing/grooming/dressing.”

Under questioning from assistant Hennepin County Attorney Susan Crumb, Sargent admitted that she used her father’s credit cards to buy inventory for her home handbag sales job. She agreed she has spent more than $14,000 for the “Handbags by Miche” business. She admitted that the total amount of her father’s money she used was more than $35,000.

Hennepin County District Court Judge Luis Bartolomei said he would defer accepting her guilty plea until the sentencing but that she had made a complete and knowing waiver of her rights in pleading guilty.

Her attorney could not be reached for comment.

The court appearance for Sargent will be April 7 for sentencing. No agreement was reached on her sentence, although state law presumes a sentence of probation with the possibility of a jail term of up to a year,