Fool proof: how to use a fake ethanol business to embezzle millions
You, too, could be like Kirsten Tjosaas.
With reasons in hand, simply march your way down to your local bank, deposit the checks in your "company's" account, and be done with it. Then, when you're ready, just transfer the funds to your own personal accounts. Voila! You're a millionaire. Now, are there problems with this plan? Sure, loads. But are you really going to let a silly little thing like embezzlement charges or prison time stop you from making millions? No? Good, you're just like Kirsten Tjosaas, of Granite Falls, MN.
Tjosaas is the now-former chief financial officer of Fagen Engineering. The 38-year-old allegedly embezzled $4.5 million (a figure that is thought to be on the low end, according to The Grand Forks Herald) though a very similar scheme using a dummy front called Fairmont Investments. According to records obtained by the Herald, the purpose of the dummy company was to invest in ethanol projects in Nebraska. As Fagen has done engineering work on ethanol plants from Oregon to Nebraska to Kentucky, using a generic company name linked to the ethanol business wasn't likely to raise red flags when she allegedly started making five- and six-figure deposits in the faux company's accounts using her employer's checks.
The absurd thing, though, is how effective the ruse was. Tjosaas wrote the phony checks between 2007 and 2014, and during that time moved from corporate controller to chief financial officer. Yes, this poor engineering firm was so clueless about Tjosaas activities (or she was so good) that they made her one of the most powerful people in the organization while she was secretly stealing millions. She was finally found out, and was fired in November 2015. As for charges, the Herald reports Tjosaas was questioned by the FBI, but hasn't been charged.
There have long been questions surrounding the ethanol business, but this case took it to a new level.
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