A Morgan County couple, Sterling and Dawn Farris, were charged Sunday, Aug. 31 by Morgan County Prosecuting Attorney Dustin Dunklee with two Class A felony counts each of “Financial Exploitation of the Elderly/Disabled.” 
According to court documents, on or about June 10, 2019, Sterling Farris, 61, and Dawn Farris, 52, both of Gravois Mills, “knowingly obtained control over $100,000” belonging to an elderly Morgan County man who was the couple’s landlord. The man was also reported to have a mental disability.
In an interview, the man told investigators that Dawn Farris had told him to pay her $100,000 as a “settlement” under threat of getting the police involved. 
Dawn and Sterling Farris collected a check June 10, 2019 in the amount of $100,000. The victim alleges he “did not want the cops involved” and that is why he wrote the check. 
Sterling Farris claimed the check was written for a loan that Dawn Farris and her deceased father (died June 2018) had agreed upon. He also said this was not “intended to be a blackmail gig” but he can see how it would appear to be so. No loan papers were produced.
When asked by law enforcement how much money was left in the victim’s account, Sterling Farris replied $35,000 to $45,000 in an investment. Sterling Farris said the rest of the money was used to pay bills and “catch up on stuff.”
According to the probable cause statement, “Sterling and Dawn were not concerned about paying the money back” because the victim had “millions of dollars” and they did not think this would hurt him.
In the interview, Sterling Farris said he and Dawn Farris, in order to “fix this” would have to pay back the money. He stated they are on disability and only work park time. 
The range of punishment for a Class A felony is imprisonment for a term of not less than 10 years and not to exceed 30 years, or life imprisonment.