Updated: July 27, 2021 04:00 PM
Created: July 27, 2021 03:56 PM
A Hastings woman and former elected official has been sentenced as of Tuesday in a wire fraud scheme that involved her taking over $650,000 in public funds for her own personal use.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Minnesota, Maryann Helen Stoffel, 70, will serve two years and three months (27 months) in prison for misappropriating the funds.
Court documents say from December 2012 through October 2020, Stoffel used her election position as the clerk of Vermillion Township to misappropriate more than $650,000 of township funds. Although Stoffel had signature authority over the township's bank account, checks required at least two signatures. As part of the fraud scheme, Stoffel forged the signatures of the township's treasurer and chairman of the township board on the checks.
At other times, she solicited signatures from the township's treasurer and the chairman of the township board on blank township checks by falsely representing that she would use the checks to pay the township's bills. Instead of using the funds to pay the township's bills, Stoffel transferred the funds to her personal bank account for her own use and benefit.
According to a release, Stoffel concealed her fraud from the township and from the state by excluding the unauthorized payments to herself on the township's annual report.
On March 16, Stoffel entered a guilty plea to one count of wire fraud. In addition to her prison sentence, she will serve one year of supervised release and pay $652,674.66 in restitution.
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