Posted Online: March 05, 2013, 8:55 pm

Judge denies dismissal of Bettendorf couple's case

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By Rachel Warmke, rwarmke@qconline.com

Photo:
Laura L. Stoffel, 57, of 3135 Central Ave., Bettendorf
Photo:
Dennis C. Stoffel, 57, of 3135 Central Ave, Bettendorf
A judge on Monday ruled he will not dismiss the criminal case against a Bettendorf couple charged with financial exploitation of an elderly person.

Court records allegeDennis Stoffel, 57, and Laura Stoffel, 58, of 3135 Central Ave., failed to honor an agreement with Mrs. Stoffel's 81-year-old stepmother who allegedly gave the couple money to buy a home in Bettendorf in 2011 under the condition she also could live there.

Judge F. Michael Meersman on Monday denied the couple's motion to dismiss the suit, filed Feb.15 in Rock Island County Circuit Court. Their attorney, Jack A. Schwartz, previously claimed the case was outside the county's jurisdiction since the purchase of the house and several bank transactions took place in Scott County.

Rock Island County Assistant State's Attorney Jim Wozniak acknowledged bistate transactions occurred. But he contended the case was still under Illinois purview since discussions about buying the house primarily took place at a bank and the stepmother's home in Rock Island County.

Records indicate the couple moved from Florida to the Quad-Cities to care for Mrs. Stoffel's widowed stepmother.The three allegedly agreed to buy a Bettendorf home in the stepmother's name using a $112,000 loan she received from the bank.

The deed to the home was to be transferred to the Stoffels after her death. The suit claims that, instead,the couple bought the home using the stepmother's money but put the deed in Dennis Stoffel's name and failed to install a wheelchair ramp at the residence, making it impossible for the stepmother to move in.

The Stoffels remained out on bond Tuesday evening. Records indicate they previously waived a jury trial and are requesting the case be decided by a judge.