Bookkeeper and bail bondsman sentenced in separate fraud cases
A bookkeeper who swindled money from a community college’s foundation and a bail bondsman who illegally forged a bond were sentenced in separate cases, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Tuesday.
Alison Klug, also known as Alison Reily, was sentenced Monday afternoon to 46 months in prison, but was placed on probation for five years and will only have to serve the prison term if she violates the terms of the probation. Hennepin County District Court Judge Lisa Janzen also sentenced Klug, 38, to 365 days in the Hennepin County workhouse and ordered her to pay restitution of $190,655 to the North Hennepin Community College Foundation and $22,105 to the Tonka Alano Society.
Just before Klug, Judge Janzen sentenced Anthony Hanson, 46, to a stay of imposition for three years and 110 days in jail, but in staggered terms so that he could continue to work in a consulting job that required him to travel regularly to California.
In Klug’s case, she was hired by the foundation in Brooklyn Park in 2014 as an independent contractor to be a bookkeeper. During the annual audit last September, she answered the auditor’s questions, walked out the door and never returned.
The audit discovered that Klug created duplicate paychecks for herself, created fictitious payees in the bookkeeping database as the people receiving those checks and forged her supervisor’s signature on those checks.
A Brooklyn Park Police investigator, looking into that fraud, obtained Klug’s bank records and saw that between mid-September and Nov.3 she made regular deposits with checks from the Tonka Alano Society, which helps recovering alcoholics. When the detective contacted the society, he was told that Klug was the lead treasurer, a volunteer position, and she should not be receiving any money from the organization. However, the society checked and found she had drained the account down to $5.
Senior Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Susan Crumb told Judge Janzen that because Klug planned her swindles and because she has a prior record and has been unsuccessful on probation, she should be sent to prison for 46 months, rather than receive probation.
At her sentencing, three people connected to the foundation told Judge Janzen what impact Klug’s actions had. The foundation raises money that, among other things, provides scholarship help for students who otherwise would not be able to afford to attend. A fundraising dinner held every year since 1985 was not held for the first time because of Klug’s fraud. Klug’s supervisor testified that she was let go by the foundation as fallout from Klug’s actions.
A member of the Tonka Alano Society told Judge Janzen that Klug took the money the organization had raised over eight years, one or two dollars at a time. Now, much needed repairs to the building and materials and tools to help clients with their recovery will all be delayed.
Judge Janzen told Klug she was giving her a downward departure from the sentencing guidelines because Klug has serious mental health problems and she though Klug is “particularly amenable to treatment.”
In Hanson’s case, he was director of operations at Ability Bail Bonds. When friends or family of accused heroin dealer Beverly Burrell went to the company to get a bond posted for nearly $200,000, the company did not have a bond that high. So Hanson cut a 5 from one bond and pasted it over the 1 in a $100,000 bond and issued it to the courts.
Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Sarah Stennes argued that Hanson should spend 120 days in the workhouse and not receive electronic home monitoring as part of that sentence. Stennes pointed out that the crime he committed was against Hennepin County District Court. It also was a public safety issue, because Burrell was out of jail for several days after the bond was accepted by the court. She has since been convicted of third-degree murder in the death of two of her heroin customers.
The judge sentenced Hanson to 110 days. Thirty of those days will be served in the workhouse, 60 will be served on electronic home monitoring and 20 through sentence-to-serve such as cleaning trash along the highways. He also must pay $18,500 in restitution.