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Moose Lake man faces charges of embezzlement

The long-time manager of Market Place Foods in Moose Lake is facing felony charges of employee theft after allegedly taking funds from the business over the period of several years.

The long-time manager of Market Place Foods in Moose Lake is facing felony charges of employee theft after allegedly taking funds from the business over the period of several years.

John Arnold Ludvigsen, 54, of Moose Lake has been charged with one count of theft by swindle, with a maximum sentence of 20 years and/or $100,000, and one count of theft, with a maximum sentence of 10 years and/or $20,000.

According the compliant filed in Sixth District Court in Carlton County, the Moose Lake Police received a call from Keith Johannason, owner of Market Place Foods of Moose Lake, on Nov. 13, 2006. Johannason reported he believed that an audit of the company's receipts showed that a substantial employee theft had been occurring at the store.

Johannason later explained to police that the company audit showed that Ludvigsen had allegedly used his employee code to ring up false returns and then took the money and kept it for his personal use. He added the audit revealed that the false returns occurred during the times Ludvigsen was working at the store.

Johannason went on to report that the company had audited their books at that point only from January 2004 to November 2006. According to the results of the audit, the amount of money returned under Ludvigsen's employee code reportedly totaled $40,873.95 for the period of January 2006 to November 2006; $36,705.27 for the period of January 2005 to December 2005; and $41,775.81 for the period of January 2004 to December 2004. At that time, Johannason indicated the audit was still being conducted.

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Moose Lake Police Chief Dale Heaton and Johannason then met with Ludvigsen, who then allegedly admitted he had been entering false returns at the store for the last seven years. He reportedly indicated he had used the money for his own personal use and added the amount of the stolen money revealed in the audit was approximately how much he had stolen from the store. At that point, the complaint states Ludvigsen "expressed remorse for what he had done."

According to County Attorney Thom Pertler, the charges against Ludvigsen were not formally filed until a couple of weeks ago pending a review of the audit documents available up to that point. Since that time, Ludvigsen has been placed on supervised release and assigned a public defender, Nate Stumme of Duluth.

Ludvigsen was scheduled to appear in Carlton County Court on Monday for an omnibus hearing, but the hearing was postponed after a significant volume of additional audit materials was submitted at the last minute, which Stumme requested additional time to review. Pertler said the hearing is now slated for late April.

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