UPDATE: Court documents say man took missing woman's disability money

4 months 2 weeks 4 days ago Friday, September 28 2018 Sep 28, 2018 Friday, September 28, 2018 9:30:00 AM CDT September 28, 2018 in News
By: Jalyn Johnson, KOMU 8 Digital Producer

MOBERLY - Randolph County prosecutors filed charges Thursday against a man accused of what deputies called social security fraud.

Lawrence Henry Warfel, Jr. has been charged with financial exploitation of the elderly. Deputies arrested Warfel, 75, Wednesday after members of the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office, the Moberly Police Department, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Social Security Administration began working on the case.

According to court documents, deputies started investigating in June after getting a call from an Ohio woman who reported her sister missing. The caller said neither she nor another sister had made contact with the missing woman since September 2017.

During the investigation, deputies talked with Warfel, who is the reportedly missing woman's husband. Documents said he told deputies he thinks the woman is in Florida, possibly with a male friend, and that he's only spoken to her once.

The woman, identified in documents as P.W., is officially listed as missing. She is also on Supplemental Security Income, a benefit through the Social Security Administration.

According to the probable cause statement, financial records showed normal activity with regards to the SSI benefits, "as far as bills being paid with the SSI money and grocery store trips."

At the end of September 2017, the document said those transactions stopped. Instead, there are only ATM transactions recorded from that time until July 2018. Surveillance video reportedly showed Warfel was the person making those ATM transactions, and records showed he removed the full amount of each month's $750 payments.

Warfel reportedly admitted to deputies he had been making the withdrawals each month. He said P.W. told him to keep the money to "pay her medical bills off at Moberly Regional Medical Center." But deputies said they checked with MRMC, who said no payments had been made on the account in more than a year.

Warfel's bond has been set at $25,000.00 cash. He is being held at the Randolph County Justice Center.

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