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Guilty Plea Entered In Guardianship Abuse Case

LAS VEGAS (KXNT) – They’re supposed to be responsible for taking care of people with special needs. One person is accused of doing the unthinkable and taking advantage of a special needs person.

Susan Rousselle appeared in court on Tuesday and entered a guilty plea on one count of exploitation of a vulnerable person for her criminal mishandling of the special needs trust account of Jason Hanson. The charge of exploitation of a vulnerable person is a category B felony, which is a probational offense that carries a possible 2 to 10 year prison sentence.

The district attorney’s office said Rousselle was Hanson’s legal guardian from the time he was 16 until he was 18. She was then appointed the trustee of his special needs trust account after he turned 18. Disabled and confined to a wheelchair, the trust was established for Hanson’s care through an inheritance from his grandmother. Rousselle admitted to stealing nearly $40,000 from that account and using it for her personal benefit.

On Tuesday, Rousselle paid full restitution in the amount of $39,076.60. She is scheduled to be sentenced on August 1.

“I’m glad about everything,” said Jason Hanson. “I thought I could trust Susan. I’m glad she owned up to what she did and paid all the money back,” said Hanson.

“We saw justice in this case,” said Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson. “Ms. Rousselle entered a guilty plea to the lead felony charge of exploitation of a vulnerable person. She has paid restitution in full and a judge will decide her punishment at her sentencing hearing in August. As I have said before, my office is dedicated to protecting our most vulnerable citizens from being victimized. This is one of many cases where justice has been served,” Wolfson said.

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