Mason City man accused of financial exploitation of elder pleads guilty to lesser charge

MASON CITY — A Mason City man accused of stealing more than $50,000 from the bank account of a dependent adult has pleaded guilty.

63-year-old Michael Studer was charged with first-degree theft and financial exploitation of an older individual, both Class B felonies punishable by up to 25 years in prison, after authorities say he committed elder abuse by financial exploitation between June 1st 2021 and December 1st of 2022.

Police say Studer transferred or withdrew over $50,000 from the bank account of the dependent adult as power of attorney and used the funds for his own personal benefit. The criminal complaint says that act allowed the victim’s home to fall into foreclosure and leave the victim in temporary financial distress.

As part of a plea agreement with prosecutors, Studer on Monday filed a written plea of guilty to one count of third-degree theft against an older individual, a Class D felony. In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutors will recommend a deferred judgment and that Studer be placed on three years probation, and also be ordered to pay restitution in a final amount to be determined.

A sentencing date for Studer was not immediately available.