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Mike Nowatzki, Published March 06 2009

Homebuilder Larry Villella's wife to testify in case against him for reduced charges

FARGO - The wife of Fargo homebuilder Larry Villella, who is accused of exploiting her 75-year-old father, agreed today to testify in the case against her husband in exchange for reduced criminal charges.

Catherine Sadler-Villella and Larry Villella had both previously pleaded not guilty to exploiting her father out of more than $100,000 and forging his signature on a guaranty to back more than $1 million in loans to finance his homebuilding business.

District Court Judge Wickham Corwin accepted a plea agreement today in which Sadler-Villella will plead guilty to misdemeanor charges of forgery and misapplication of entrusted property. A felony charge of exploitation of a vulnerable adult will be dropped.

Sadler-Villella’s guilty pleas will formally be accepted after she testifies in the trial of Larry Villella, which is slated to start on May 11.

The plea agreement recommends she be sentenced to 10 days in jail with work release and 50 days of electronic home monitoring.

For more details, see Saturday's Forum.