A woman from Minnesota will avoid a prison sentence after agreeing to repay restitution for the $40,000 she reportedly stolen from the Garrison Fire Department Relief Association in the state and used the money to gamble. The woman admitted guilt and has received leniency in the matter.
However, her freedom will be contingent on her producing the missing funds, which, if she fails to provide, will result in her incarceration for around six months or 180 days. Shawn Marie Luedtke, a 54-year-old resident of Minnesota, will need to repay $37,283 as restitution as well as offer another $7,175 to a gaming manager, who remained anonymous, and who was the one to originally flag the offense.
Luedtke admitted to the theft but said she had every intention to repay the missing amount before the issue was even discovered.
No Repayment Before the Sheriff Finds Out
However, her plan went wrong somewhere as no money was actually paid prior to the involvement of law enforcement. A gaming manager, though, was able to spot the discrepancies in the association’s records and alerted authorities.
The findings were sped to the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office who took over. Luedtke found out about the books through her husband, who had no knowledge of the matter. Understanding that the books were unsupervised by anyone but her, she proceeded with her plan.
However, the gaming managed found inconsistencies while training a new employee. Originally, Crow Wing County District Judge Erik J. Askegaard ordered restitution to the tune of $44,458, but Luedtke’s lawyer has been able to play this amount down to $37,283 in the end.
The matter was also investigated by the Minnesota Gambling Control Board (MGCB), which fined the association $2,697. The association tried to shift the fine onto Luedtke, but Judge Askegaard sided with the MGCB’s decision that the association had not put proper processes in place to avoid instances of embezzlement.