Abenaki Chief In Court For Exploitation

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The chief of Vermont’s Missisquoi Abenaki tribe has pleaded not guilty to a felony charge she exploited an elderly adult whose financial records she was managing.

Forty-two-year-old April St. Francis Merrill entered the plea to the felony charge Monday in Franklin Superior Court in St. Albans.

Prosecutors say Merrill used $30,697 to pay bank and credit card charges with money that belonged to Louis Lafrance.

Police say Lafrance became suspicious about some credit card charges and mentioned it to his family. The family obtained a full printout and marked those charges that did not benefit Lafrance.

The Burlington Free Press says Merrill acknowledged some purchases.

If convicted, she could be sentenced to 10 years in prison.

She was released after Monday’s arraignment.

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