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Phelps County woman charged with two felonies for stealing over $7,000 from father

Phelps County woman, Denise Flanagan, was charged with exploitation of a vulnerable adult and unauthorized use of a financial transaction device, both felonies. 

On Monday, May 20th, 2019, the Holdrege Police Department was notified that Denise Flanagan was possibly taking advantage of her father, Marc Wolfe, by writing checks from her father’s bank accounts. 

Per court filings in Phelps County, Flanagan began residing at her father's residence in November of 2018. Flanagan does not have power of attorney for her father nor does her name appear as an authorized user on any bank or credit card accounts for her father. 

In 2016, Flanagan’s father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s dementia and has been residing in a care community since April of 2019. 

The court records detail how over numerous months in 2019, Flanagan is accused of signing receipts utilizing her father's name that did not match the bank’s signature card on file. Flanagan is also accused of signing over a motorhome and vehicle from her father's possession to her possession by allegedly forging her father's signature. The court records indicate that the signatures do not match those of previous signatures and occurred after her father was moved into a care community. 

According to court records, Holdrege police were notified that Flanagan and her sons had moved out of Wolfe’s residence and left Holdrege on June 23rd, 2019. 

During the course of the investigation, Holdrege police reviewed Discover card statements belonging to Wolfe from April 2019 (when Wolfe moved into a community care home) to July 2019. Multiple credit card charges were discovered during this time and Holdrege police reviewed credit card signature receipts as well as surveillance video showing Flanagan allegedly swiping the card at different businesses. 

After June 28th, 2019, charges to the Discover card continued outside the state of Nebraska and indicated that Flanagan was traveling east. The Holdrege police were contacted by a Sheriff from Monroe County, West Virginia on August 26th, 2019. They had been notified that Flanagan was allegedly paying her daughters rent with the Discover card in West Virginia. These rent charges totaled over $3,000. The daughter told Holdrege police, in an interview, that Flanagan provided her daughter with the Discover card and that the daughter was under the impression that Wolfe had approved the use. 

Between April 2019 and June 2019, Wolfe was documented to have left the care community on two occasions while Flanagan visited her father one time. Holdrege police used this to cross reference multiple charges on Wolfe’s Discover card. 

The court documents state that Flanagan is accused of charging $7,689.60 to her father's Discover card between April 2019 and June 2019. 

On November 4th, 2019, an arrest warrant for Denise Flanagan was issued. On December 12th, 2019, Flanagan was served with the arrest warrant and extradited back to Nebraska. Flanagan was appointed a public defender and probable cause for detention was found. Flanagans bond was set for $100,000 on December 16th, 2019 and according to court documents, Flanagan was also on probation out of Furnas County when she fled the state. A preliminary court hearing was set for December 23rd, 2019. 

On December 17th, 2019, Flanagan requested through counsel, a bond review hearing for extreme hardship caused by incarceration. The bond review was set for the December 23rd, 2019 court date. On December 23rd, 2019, the court found that the bond is reasonable as previously set and denied the defendant's request for a personal recognizance bond. The next court date was set for January 8th, 2020. 

On December 26th, 2019, Flanagan again requested through counsel, a bond review hearing for extreme hardship caused by incarceration. On January 8th, 2020, the court reduced Flanagans bond from $100,000 to $75,000 and denied the defendants' request for a personal recognizance bond. The next court date was set for February 26th, 2020. 

On February 26th, 2020 Denise Flanagan waived her preliminary hearing and was bound over to district court on both felony charges. 

On March 19th, 2020, Denise Flanagan again requested through counsel, a bond review hearing for extreme hardship caused by incarceration.

On April 9th, 2020 Denise Flanagan entered a plea deal and plead guilty to charges of exploitation of a vulnerable adult and attempted unauthorized use of a financial transaction device and was ordered to pay restitution of $7,689.60 as well as sign the titles to her father’s Jeep and camper. The camper was in West Virginia and the state requested that Flanagan have the camper transported back to Phelps County. 

In the plea deal documents, Flanagan informed her attorney that in 1993 or 1994, some event occurred in Flanagan’s home state where she believes it was determined that Flanagan should not be responsible for her actions and she was told that she did not understand right from wrong. Flanagan told her attorney as of 4/6/2020 that she did not have a copy of the document but that she saw it while waiting for extradition. Flanagan was offered time to find a copy of the document but she declined and accepted the plea deal. 

Flanagan’s bond was lowered to $10,000 and Flanagan was able to bond out on May 28th, 2020. Flanagans sentencing is scheduled for June 25th, 2020.

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