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Woman charged with stealing $65,000 from trucking company in Kiel

Photo: Manitowoc County Jail
Photo: Manitowoc County Jail(WBAY)
Published: Feb. 6, 2020 at 12:41 PM CST
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Manitowoc County prosecutors have filed 71 counts against a woman accused of stealing thousands of dollars from her employer in Kiel.

A criminal complaint obtained by Action 2 News details allegations against Karen S. Schwind, 51.

The complaint alleges Schwind stole more than $65,000 from Steller & Son LLC between April 25, 2018 and June 4, 2019.

Kiel Police Chief David Funkhouser states in the complaint that the owner of the trucking company approached him in June 2019 after discovering a company check made payable to Schwind in an amount over $2,000. The owner believed Schwind had forged his name on the check and cashed it for herself.

Police recommended the owner have an audit of his financial records.

In September, the owner told police that the dollar amounts he initially found "had gone up dramatically and that his company was suffering significantly."

An accountant discovered checks that had been entered in a ledger as paid to a vendor, but were actually written out to Karen Schwind.

The accountant's review estimated a loss of almost $66,000 for the Steller & Son business.

Police suspect Schwind stole $37,607.92 from the business in 2018 and $25,585.49 in 2019, according to the complaint.

Police discovered the thefts involved 70 checks. They say Schwind altered the company's business records to conceal thefts.

Police say they confirmed the signatures on the checks to be forgeries.

The owner stated Schwind was hired in 2017 as a safety and invoicing clerk for the business. She started pushing for the company to use a "new system" when it came to bookkeeping. She took over those duties at the end of 2017.

In May of 2019, the owner noticed that the business was falling behind on bills and he discovered money missing from an account. He confronted Schwind, who stated she had transferred funds to pay off other debts owed by the business.

In June 2019, the owner received information that his credit card payment was past due. He was also contacted by a trucking company that said he was past due in payments.

Later, the owner looked up Karen Schwind on Wisconsin's online court records and found she had a conviction in a forgery case in Fond du Lac County. In that case, she had been working as a bookkeeper for a company and printed checks payable to herself and forged the owner's signature. The company lost more than $24,000. Schwind had said her reason for stealing from the company was to pay off her own bills. She was still on probation in that case when she was hired at Steller & Son in 2017.

The owner of Steller & Son said he had not checked her criminal records before he hired her because "she came from a referred source that he trusted."

On Feb. 6, Kiel Police arrested Schwind in Kewaunee and transported her to the Manitowoc County Jail. She has not made an appearance in court.

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