Lawrence Warfel, of Moberly, waived his arraignment Monday, entering a not guilty plea for the charge of financial exploitation of an elderly/disabled person.

His preliminary hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Oct. 15. Lawrence Warfel’s charge is a Class C felony, which in Missouri can carry a prison sentence of three to 10 years or a $10,000 fine.

As of the time of publication, Lawrence Warfel’s $25,000 bond had not been paid, and he remained in the Randolph County Jail. He is being represented by Assistant Public Defender Mohamed Ali Sawani.

The charges came after an investigation by the Randolph County Sheriff’s Department about Lawrence Warfel’s missing wife, Penny Warfel. Deputy Aaron Wilson carried out the investigation and reported that Lawrence Warfel consistently withdrew $750 a month from his missing wife’s Social Security debit account, totalling approximately $8,000 over the course of the year.

Warfel admitted to withdrawing the funds but said that he was using the money to pay off his wife’s hospital bills, according to the report. Wilson reportedly checked with the Moberly Regional Medical Center, and none of Penny Warfel’s bills had been paid since she was reported missing.

Penny Warfel has been missing since Sept. 2017. Her husband is reportedly the last person in her family to see or hear from her. Penny Warfel said she spoke with her sister that day before she was last seen. Lawrence Warfel told investigators that it is likely that she moved to Florida with a male friend.

Investigators are still looking for Penny Warfel. Anyone who has any information on her whereabouts can contact the Randolph County Sheriff’s Department or the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

ecliburn@moberlymonitor.com