Bookkeeper guilty of large business theft

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A Hennepin County District Court jury took about four hours to convict Laura Lee Scholtz of embezzling nearly $300,000 from the business where she was the bookkeeper, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Tuesday.

On Monday, the jury convicted Scholtz, 47, of Burnsville, on four counts of theft by swindle over $35,000 from her employer, Service Quality Institute of Bloomington. The thefts occurred over two years.

After the verdict, the Hennepin County prosecutor asked the jury to find Scholtz guilty of aggravating circumstances. After about 15 minutes, the jury returned and agreed that the crime included multiple incidences, resulted in losses substantially above $35,000, that Scholtz used a position of trust or confidence and that she committed the crimes over a lengthy period of time.

With those findings, the county attorney’s office will be able to ask for a higher sentence than what is recommended by the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines. Scholtz will be sentenced on June 22.

Testimony in the case, which lasted a week, showed that after Scholtz was promoted to head bookkeeper in August 2011, she began taking money through numerous cash withdrawals. Many of the withdrawals were for more than $1,000. By the time the company’s owner confronted her in July 2013, Scholtz had stolen at least $291,000.

While Scholtz never said what she did with the money, evidence at the trial showed many transactions at gambling casinos.