Pequot Lakes Woman Faces Fraud Charges
A 46-year-old Pequot Lakes woman is facing charges of fraud and theft after allegedly stealing thousands of dollars from a business she once worked for in Garrison.
Shannon Marie Steele is facing three felony counts of theft by check and four felony counts of fraud after being accused of stealing thousands of dollars from Geo’s Paint for her own personal use.
According to the complaint, Steele was a bookkeeper for the business in Garrison and had access to the checking account, a 5 star checking account and various business credit cards. She also had access to the owner’s personal credit cards although she did not have authority to charge any personal expenses.
The Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office was contacted on Dec.22, 2016 after the owner of Geo’s Paint received a credit card statement in the mail and noticed some charges on the business credit card that were not authorized.
After further evaluation, there were several checks written out to Shannon Steele that she logged in the Quickbooks under another vendor or did not enter them at all.
Shannon’s husband, Russell Claire Steele endorsed and cashed most of the fraudulent checks that were written to Shannon from the business account into either his savings or checking accounts.
Between August 18 and Dec. 22,2016, there were 12 checks totaling over $37,000 written to Shannon Steele and deposited into her husband’s account according to the complaint.
Between June 1 and 30,2016 the checks written to Shannon Steele totaled over $11,000 and from July 1 through August 16,2016 the total checks written out to Shannon were over $13,000.
According to the complaint Shannon Steele also made unauthorized purchases using 8 business credit card accounts from Geo’s Paint between May 18 and Dec.22 that total over $16,000.
After the theft was discovered and she was fired, Steele spoke with another employee and admitted to stealing the money because she deserved it, and threatened to retaliate.
Steele is scheduled to appear in Crow Wing County Court for a plea hearing on Feb.12, 2018 at 1:30 p.m.