Burnsville Woman Ordered to Pay $244K in Restitution to Victims of Swindling
Laura Michelle Schwartz, 37, was given a light jail sentence but a heavy financial penalty for swindling both her former employer and Dakota County.
A debt to society, indeed. On Monday, a Dakota County judge ordered a 37-year-old Burnsville woman convicted of swindling and theft to pay a whopping restitution requirement—$244,188.97 in all.
Laura Michelle Schwartz pleaded guilty to six counts of theft by swindle and one count of wrongfully obtaining assistance. All are felony-level offenses. In addition to a formidable restitution requirement, Judge David Knutson sentenced Schwartz to 60 days in jail (20 days to be served), and 20 years of probation. For now, Knutson has stayed 51 months in prison. If Schwartz violates the terms of her probation, she will have to serve the increased prison sentence immediately.
In June, Schwartz was accused of embezzling $183,000 from her employer, a freight shipping company in Eagan, over a period of five years, from June 2007 to January 2012. Schwartz used her position as clerk in the financial department to redirect funds into personal accounts. Her activities were discovered when the company completed an audit and found several suspicious transactions linked to her company password.
She was originally charged with 10 felony counts of theft by swindle.
In July, Schwartz was arrested again—this time for illegally obtaining more than $40,000 in county child care benefits.
Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom called Schwartz's thefts "significant financial crimes." He said he was pleased to have a conviction in the case.
Want to know more? See our past coverage:
- Burnsville Woman Charged with Swindling $183,000 from Eagan Company
- Burnsville Woman Faces New Charges of Illegally Receiving County Benefits