Preston woman accused of stealing thousands from vulnerable adults in care home

(ABC 6 News) – A Preston woman faces three charges of financially exploiting a vulnerable adult and three charges of theft by swindle in Fillmore County Court, after allegedly using her position at Maple Leaf Services in Preston to steal from residents.

Buffy Jo Bathke, 47, is accused of taking nearly $10,000 out of three clients’ accounts by writing and endorsing checks, then taking the money that was meant to go into the alleged victims’ petty cash funds or pay for goods and services.

According to court documents, the alleged thefts took place between March of 2015 and August 2021, when the Minnesota Adult Abuse Reporting Center (MAARC) contacted Preston police about money missing from the three vulnerable adults’ bank accounts.

The MAARC report alleged that Bathke took $3,480 from one alleged victim’s account, $4,445 from the second, and $1,815 from the third alleged victim’s account over the course of several years.

Bathke is scheduled to appear in Fillmore County Court Monday, June 12.