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Former CFO of Granite Falls Industrial Contracted found guilty of wire fraud and money laundering

Kirsten Ann Tjosaas, 38, was sentenced on Tuesday, for embezzling $5,733,410 from Fagen, Inc., an industrial contracting company for which she served as Chief Financial Officer. Tjosaas pleaded guilty on May 6, 2016, to wire fraud and money laundering.

According to her guilty plea, between 2006 and November 205, Tjosaas abused her authority as Corporate Controller and Chief Financial Officer of Fagen to issue at least 19 checks and make wire transfers totaling approximately $4.5 million from Fagen to Fairmont Investments, LLC, a Nebraska-based corporation controlled by the defendant.

According to her guilty plea, after registering Fairmont, Tjosaas opened a bank account at Granite Falls Bank in the name of Fairmont for the purpose of embezzling money from Fagen. Tjosaas signed these checks using the signature stamp of another Fagen executive without the authority or knowledge of that executive. The defendant also entered false entries into Fagen’s general ledger to disguise the illegitimate checks as payments to Fagen partners or payments to legitimate Fagen vendors. After depositing checks in the Fairmont account, Tjosaas transferred the funds she had stolen into her own personal bank accounts.

According to her guilty plea, Tjosaas also fraudulently issued Fagen checks payable to another company. Tjosaas had access to and control over the bank account of this company. Between June 2006 and November 2015, Tjosaas issued approximately 25 fraudulent checks into this account totaling more than $1.2 million.

Tjosaas used the illicit proceeds to buy homes in Florida, Minnesota, Kentucky,and Arizona. She purchased time-shares in Arizona and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as at least three automobiles, two all-terrain vehicles, a motorcycle, a jet-ski, and a sailboat.

Tjosaas spent more than $500,000 of the stolen money on travel, including $346,000 on airplane tickets, $213,000 on hotel stays and more than $90,000 in restaurants.