A Stewartville, Minn., man stole, embezzled and laundered the life savings of an elderly Elkton, Minn., couple and then spent it on cars, a country club membership, tuition and jewelry, according to federal charges filed Wednesday in Minneapolis.
Joseph William Hughes, 45, was indicted by a federal grand jury on four counts of mail fraud, four counts of wire fraud, six counts of aggravated identity theft and one count of money laundering.
Hughes used his work with a financial services company to gain access to clients' finances, according to the U.S. attorney's office.
The Elkton couple came to Hughes in June 2005 after the husband suffered a stroke and asked him to invest more than $400,000 of their money, which Hughes then diverted into an account under his control.
He also allegedly forged signatures and checks, made false statements on the couple's account records and lied to and misled many -- including the couple, the couple's children, the financial services company and investigators from the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
If convicted, Hughes faces up to 20 years in prison on each count of mail fraud, up to 20 years on each count of wire fraud, two years on each count of identity theft and 10 years for money laundering -- 182 years total.