DAKOTA COUNTY, MN - A former bookkeeper of Navy Island Plywood was sentenced to nearly four years in prison for embezzling more than $600,000 from the company.

Cindy Lou Kutscher, 52, of Afton, MN, reportedly diverted up to $25,000 from the West St. Paul company more than 20 times between 2004 and 2008.

Kutscher, who has assumed her maiden name Sears since her arrest in 2008, pled guilty to four felony counts of Theft by Swindle on Dec. 22, 2009. The Dakota County Attorney's Office had argued for a double upward departure (90 months in prison) based on the significant nature of this major economic offense. Kutscher/Sears was also ordered to pay full restitution for the money she stole.

According to the Dakota County Attorney's Office, Kutscher/Sears worked as the sole bookkeeper/accountant at Navy Island Plywood from 2004 through 2008. During this four-year period she stole the company’s money through various ways, including writing company checks directly to herself; writing company checks to pay her personal bills; depositing into her personal account checks that the company received from vendors; and depositing into her personal account checks that were supposed to be paid to vendors. The investigation revealed that there were 236 checks fraudulently paid or deposited in one of these ways in the total amount of $602,672.88.

Read the Dakota County Attorney's Office release.

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.