An ailing Wayzata woman had nearly $1.5 million stolen from her accumulated wealth by her longtime personal secretary, according to charges filed Tuesday.

Cynthia Lou Carley, 63, of Branson, Mo., was charged in Hennepin County District Court with six counts of felony theft by swindle in connection with her scheme that ran from mid-2016 until a few months before the woman died in September 2019 at age 65 after struggling with muscular dystrophy and other medical conditions.

Carley was charged by summons, declined to comment and her attorney was not immediately available to respond to the allegations.

Portions of the $1.46 million were spent at casinos in the Branson area, other retail establishments and to pay charges on many credit cards in her name and for accounts belonging to her husband and other family members, according to the charges.

Carley told police that the woman "just didn't care about anything" and told her to "just take care of it," regarding her financial matters, the criminal complaint quoted her as saying.

She added that she made personal purchases with the woman's "significant personal assets" in lieu of a normal paycheck for her $5,000 monthly salary. Any amount of personal spending with the woman's funds above that monthly amount would have been " unintentional," the complaint read.

According to the complaint, which does not identify the victimized woman: A nephew of the woman went to police in June 2019 soon after discovering the thefts while going over her financial records soon after her son's death.

Carley started working for the woman in 2002 and was tasked with paying the woman's bills and filing her taxes. She traveled from Missouri to visit the woman in her Wayzata home roughly two to three times a year.

The branch manager where the woman did her banking expressed concern to police about overdrafts as a result of payments to Carley and other people. The manager went to the woman about the overdrafts and was told to contact Carley, who replied that she could access the woman's money without her permission.

Police reviewed 32 credit card and other accounts and saw that Carley stole roughly $205,000 in the second half of 2016, about $554,000 in 2017, more than $462,000 in 2018 and about $243,000 in the first half of 2019, before her "employment with the victim was terminated on June 29, 2019," the complaint said.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482