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Williston woman pleads not guilty to exploiting aunt in Hettinger County

MOTT -- A Williston woman has plead not guilty to charges that she stole more than $133,000 from her aunt over a period of three years.

Patricia Rettke, 59, waived her right to a preliminary hearing on Thursday, allowing her case to move to trial.

The Hettinger County Sheriff's Office has charged Rettke with two counts of exploitation of a vulnerable adult. She faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and up to $20,000 in fines for each charge, if convicted.

Police say Rettke wrote checks for her aunt, Emma Rieger of Mott, to sign from October 2010 to March 2013.

Rieger, a resident of Good Samaritan Nursing Home in Mott, lacked to the capacity to consent to signing the checks, according to the criminal complaint. Rieger ultimately signed checks totalling $133,018.32.

Rettke had been appointed Rieger's attorney-in-fact after she moved to the nursing home, according to the sheriff's office. This allowed Rettke to sign certain documents on Rieger's behalf, but did not permit her to use the position for her financial gain, according to the criminal complaint.

Bruce Kallis, administrator of the Good Samaritan Society in Mott, has been listed as a witness in the trial. Nursing home officials reported the matter to police.

Both Rettke and her lawyer, Richard Sand, declined comment on the case. A trial date has not yet been scheduled.