1 of 3 charged in connection to theft, embezzelment at Roseville bingo hall pleads guilty

1 of 3 charged in connection to theft, embezzelment at Roseville bingo hall pleads guilty Photo: KSTP

April 19, 2019 08:25 PM

One of the three people charged in connection to what authorities say was theft and embezzlement from a bingo hall operated part-time by the Roseville Area Youth Hockey Association has pleaded guilty.

Court records show 68-year-old Bonnie Jean Harwell pleaded guilty to one count of theft. 


April Elizabeth Borash and Lea Elizabeth Vogelsang also face charges.

According to the criminal complaint against Borash, the RAYHA raises money for its activities by its part-time operation of the Roseville Bingo Hall, as well as operating pull tab booths there and at bars. Three $20 coupons for future use at the bingo hall were sold in packs for $40, allowing purchasers to reduce the cost of play. However, the complaint goes on to state, the RAYHA did not always track the number of coupons sold, even while the cash was collected and was periodically brought to the admissions area and separately recorded. 

The complaint alleges that flaw was exploited by Borash, who for many years managed the bingo hall on nights when the RAYHA operated it, and fellow employees Vogelsang and Harwell. Typically, only those three were involved in selling the $20 coupons, the complaint alleges.

RELATED: 3 individuals charged in connection to theft, embezzelment at Roseville bingo hall

The complaint claims a longtime RAYHA employee who worked at the bingo hall was fired by Borash in July, 2018. Borash said the decision had been made by the RAYHA board, but the employee reportedly discovered that was false after speaking with the group's CEO.

The employee believed the real reason for the termination was concerns she had raised about the sale of the $20 coupons. The CEO then contacted the Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. And both the RAYHA and the Midway Speed Skating Club, which also operated the hall on a part-time basis, gave investigators the authority to install cameras.

"That video shows numerous occasions where Borash, Vogelsang and Harwell were seen selling coupons, taking in cash, and putting that cash in a bank bag in a drawer or somewhere else in the drawer, and then later putting the cash in their pockets," the complaint alleges.

The complaint states Borash initially denied taking money, but eventually acknowledged taking $5,000 to $10,000 per year in coupon money. She allegedly also admitted to having a gambling problem.

Vogelsang is also alleged to have confessed to taking money, though she reportedly said it was for her mother. And that when she confronted her mother about coupon sales not being reported, her mother stated she used the money to buy office supplies and other items like shirts for employees.

"When asked why she did not raise more questions about the missing money, Vogelsang stated that she didn't look into the issue, because she didn't want to know," the complaint reads.

The complaint goes on to allege that between 2015 and part of 2018, there were $84,650 in cash deposits from unknown sources into Harwell's bank account. From Jan. 1, 2017 to June 11, 2018, there were allegedly a total of $50,300 in cash deposits from unknown sources.

According to the complaint, a review of Borash's bank records also revealed deposits from Rustad and Associates - the company that maintains the ATM machine in the bingo hall. The fee charged for the ATM's use is split between Rustad and Associates, the RAYHA and the Midway Speed Skating Club.

Rustad and Associates reportedly confirmed checks for the RAYHA's portion of the fees were made payable to Borash at her request - an arrangement the RAYHA had not authorized.

All three have been terminated from their positions by the RAYHA, the complaint states.

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