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Bookkeeper sentenced for theft by swindle, must repay $88,000

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News Cloquet,Minnesota 55720 http://www.pinejournal.com/sites/default/files/styles/square_300/public/field/image/image%20%289%29.jpeg?itok=7d4-EQbE
Pine Journal
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Bookkeeper sentenced for theft by swindle, must repay $88,000
Cloquet Minnesota 122 Avenue C 55720

A long-time bookkeeper for Pine Ridge Homes in Cloquet has been granted a stay of imposition and sentenced to five years of supervised probation for writing some $88,000 in unauthorized checks to herself.

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Denise Rae Forconi, 63, of Esko appeared for sentencing before Judge Robert Macaulay Monday in Carlton County Court. She had earlier pleaded guilty to three counts of theft by swindle. Three additional counts were dismissed as part of a plea bargain.

Macaulay also sentenced Forconi to 120 days of local confinement, with credit for two days already served and the balance to be served on electronic home monitoring. Forconi was ordered to pay $88,709.70 in restitution on all six counts, attend Gamblers Anonymous, avoid entering any casinos or gambling establishments and attend therapy as directed by her probation agent.

Forconi was a 29-year employee of Pine Ridge Homes, where she held the position of head bookkeeper and was responsible for accounts payable and receivable, preparing checks for payment of accounts and payroll.

According to the criminal complaint, following Forconi’s retirement in April 2013, her successor discovered accounting irregularities which prompted an internal investigation into payment accounts. The investigation prompted Pine Ridge to contact an accounting firm to review its financial records.

The review uncovered information showing that Forconi had regularly drafted unauthorized checks in her name. She would reportedly bill one or more expenditure accounts for non-existent expenses and would then take the funds, draft an unauthorized check in her name and then cash or deposit the check at local banks.

The complaint went on to say that Pine Ridge contacted Cloquet Police regarding the matter and a police detective investigated the complaint by gathering the accounting and banking records from Pine Ridge as well as copies of unauthorized checks and bank records demonstrating when and how Forconi allegedly moved the unauthorized funds.

A long-time bookkeeper for Pine Ridge Homes in Cloquet has been granted a stay of imposition and sentenced to five years of supervised probation for writing some $88,000 in unauthorized checks to herself.

Denise Rae Forconi, 63, of Esko appeared for sentencing before Judge Robert Macaulay Monday in Carlton County Court. She had earlier pleaded guilty to three counts of theft by swindle. Three additional counts were dismissed as part of a plea bargain.

Macaulay also sentenced Forcorni to 120 days of local confinement, with credit for two days already served and the balance to be served on electronic home monitoring. Forconi was ordered to pay $88,709.70 in restitution, attend Gamblers Anonymous, avoid entering any casinos or gambling establishments and attend therapy as directed by her probation agent.

Forconi was a 29-year employee of Pine Ridge Homes, where she held the position of head bookkeeper and was responsible for accounts payable and receivable, preparing checks for payment of accounts and payroll.

According to the criminal complaint, following Forconi’s retirement in April 2013, her successor discovered accounting irregularities which prompted an internal investigation into payment accounts. The investigation prompted Pine Ridge to contact an accounting firm to review its financial records.

The review uncovered information showing that Forconi had regularly drafted unauthorized checks in her name. She would reportedly bill one or more expenditure accounts for non-existent expenses and would then take the funds, draft an unauthorized check in her name and then cash or deposit the check at local banks.

The complaint went on to say that Pine Ridge contacted Cloquet Police regarding the matter and a police detective investigated the complaint by gathering the accounting and banking records from Pine Ridge as well as copies of unauthorized checks and bank records demonstrating when and how Forconi allegedly moved the unauthorized funds.

Forconi was apprehended on Nov. 26, 2013. She and her husband paid the restitution in full after Monday's sentencing.

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Wendy Johnson
(218) 879-1950
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