Oct. 9, 2006

Delano woman facing charge of embezzling more than $100,000

By Ryan Gueningsman
Managing Editor

A Delano woman is facing a felony embezzlement charge after allegedly taking more than $100,000 from her place of employment for personal use.

Sandra Marie Simon, 42, was employed by Delano Sports Center, Inc. as a controller from 2003 through March of this year. In 2006 shortly after leaving her employment with Delano Sports Center, Simon began working in the accounting department at Delano Motors.

Owners of the companies had believed Simon to be stealing funds from the businesses, according to a formal complaint dated Oct. 3. Management initially became suspicious of theft-related activity upon discovering checks that had not been accounted for, according to the complaint.

An investigation into the missing checks revealed a number of the checks had been written out to a company by the name of Universal, and that there were no invoices that corresponded with the checks written out to the company, according to the complaint. It was also noted that Universal was not a vendor of Delano Sports Center.

As a controller, Simon’s job duties included issuing checks, according to the complaint.

A forensic accountant was hired by Delano Sports Center to examine these issues, which showed that between October 1, 2003 and April 15, 2005, 12 checks had been written from Delano Sports Center to Universal, totaling $72,690.46, according to the complaint.

The accounting system listed several of these checks as having been voided, when in fact the checks had actually been issued and cleared the bank, according to the complaint.

Further investigation by the forensic accountant revealed a check that had been written to Citi Financial in July 2004 for $10,000, and a check to Harris Bank for $7,049.52. Neither of these businesses were vendors of Delano Sports Center.

Two suspicious checks were also found issued from Delano Motors, according to the complaint. One check was to Universal in May of this year for $7,550, and one was to Harris Bank in April of this year for $4,122.22. Neither Universal or Harris Bank are vendors of Delano Motors, according to the complaint.

An investigation by the Wright County Sheriff’s Department showed that Simon had credit card accounts at Universal and Citi Financial, and that the checks issued to the two companies were payments on her credit card accounts, according to the complaint.

The department’s investigation further showed that the checks issued to Harris Bank were payments on Simon’s loan with the bank, according to the complaint.

Simon did not have permission from Delano Sports Center or Delano Motors to pay her personal obligations with company funds, according to the complaint.

The checks were listed as voided items, when in fact the checks were issued and paid. The total amount from October 2003 through May 2006 equals $101,412.20, according to the complaint.

In a statement given to authorities, Simon admitted to taking money from both Delano Sports Center and Delano Motors, and admitted writing checks to pay her accounts with Universal, Citi Financial, and Harris Bank. She did not know the exact amount she had taken, but admitted doing this for a while, according to the complaint.

Simon was charged with theft by swindle in an amount more than $35,000, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment, and or a $100,000 fine if found guilty.

A court date for Simon has not been set, according to the Wright County Attorney’s Office.

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