Two Twin Cities women have been charged with defrauding a Burnsville apartment management company.
Kathryn Ann Blankenship, a 37-year-old Brooklyn Park woman, has been charged with one count of felony theft and another count of check forgery, each of which carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and $10,000 in fines. Her roommate, Rachel Elizabeth Ekholm, 34, of Minneapolis, has been charged with theft and forgery as well.
The Burnsville PD began investigating the case in December 2012, when Gaughan Companies, owner of Shalimar Estates in Burnsville, reported an employee theft. The theft was discovered when Gaughan conducted an audit and discovered that rent deposits for October and November 2012 were missing, resulting in a shortfall of $6,548. Higher-ups at Gaughan questioned the on-site property manager, Blankenship, but she said she'd deposited all of the money into the company account and denied taking any of it.
When interviewed, tenants said Blankenship advised them to leave the "to the order of" spot blank when paying by money order. Copies of the money orders showed that someone had made most of them payable to Blankenship, though one was made out to Ekholm, as well. Burnsville police determined that the two women cashed most of the money orders at Walmart locations in the south metro.
Gaughan also found that $2,440 in rental payments made in cash were gone.