United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger announced Monday that Kirsten Ann Tjosaas, the former chief financial officer for Fagen Inc. will be charged for embezzling more than $5.7 million from her former employer.

United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger announced Monday that  Kirsten Ann Tjosaas, the former chief financial officer for Fagen Inc. will be charged for embezzling more than $5.7 million from her former employer.

“As alleged in the [charges], Ms. Tjosaas carried on an egregious embezzlement scheme over an eight-year period, stealing millions from a family-owned business,”

Luger said in a news release. “These charges reflect a clear violation of both the law and the trust her employer placed in her.’’

Tjosaas, 38, will be charged with wire fraud and money laundering and is expected to appear at a later date before Judge Donovan W. Frank in U.S. District Court in St. Paul.

Tjosaas, a local of Granite Falls, began working in the accounting office of Fagen Inc. in 2004. She was promoted to the position of Corporate Controller in 2007 and promoted to Chief Financial Officer in December of 2013, before being terminated in November of this past year.

Federal authorities were in town earlier this year to question Tjosaas at her residence where she is said to have admitted to embezzling the funds.

The FBI and federal prosecutors allege that Tjosaas, following her 2007 promotion, wrote and signed fraudulent Fagen checks and electronically transferred corporate money to a company that she controlled, and later moved those funds to her personal bank account. She used the funds to purchase properties in both her own, and her husband, Jeffry’s, name.

Tjosaas willingly signed off on an order that permits federal courts to freeze assets in advance of possible criminal charges against her by the U.S. Department of Justice.
The StarTribune reported that authorities described the fraud in a U.S. District Court motion to prevent her or her husband, Jeffry, from selling 12 properties, a boat and SUV suspected of having been purchased with fraudulent funds. She would agree to an extended court order preventing the sale of the couple’s properties in Minnesota including those in Granite Falls, Stony Run Township and Minnetonka as well as properties in Cape Coral Florida, Scottsdale, Arizona and Lexington, Tennessee.

The possible embezzlement of funds was first recognized in December after Fagen accounting personnel discovered several suspicious transactions to a company with which Fagen had no business dealings.

According to her attorney, Tjosaas is working with the government to liquidate assets and return the missing funds to Fagen.

A statement from Fagen, Inc. suggested that business would continue as usual.

“Fagen, Inc. has a long history of highly successful business ventures based on trust,” said the statement, released through Fagen Attorney Joe Dixon. “The company is saddened by the breach of that trust by a former employee, Kirsten Tjosaas.  Nevertheless, Fagen, Inc. remains strong and will continue to enjoy success.  Fagen, Inc. has reviewed its processes and internal controls to ensure the integrity of its operations going forward.”