The saga of Kirsten Ann Tjosaas’ embezzlement from Fagen, Inc. came to a close on Tuesday, September 13, as she received a sentence for her charges.

The saga of Kirsten Ann Tjosaas’ embezzlement from Fagen, Inc. came to a close on Tuesday, September 13, as she received a sentence for her charges.

Tjosaas was given a 78 month-long sentence for embezzling $5,773,410 from Fagen, where she was formerly employed as the CFO (Chief Financial Officer). She had pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering.

According to Tjosaas’ guilty plea, she issued at least 19 checks and made wire transfers totaling approximately $4.5 million from Fagen to Fairmont Investments from the time frame spanning between 2006 and November 2015. Fairmont Investments is a Nebraska-based corporation that was controlled by defendant Tjosaas.

Her guilty plea also stated that after she registered Fairmont Investments, Tjosaas opened a bank account at the Granite Falls Bank in Fairmont’s name to embezzle money from Fagen. Tjosaas signed checks using the signature stamp of another Fagen executive without their authority or knowledge and entered false entries into Fagen’s general ledger to disguise her illegitimate checks as payments to Fagen partners or payments to legitimate Fagen vendors. After Tjosass deposited checks into the Fairmont account, Tjosaas transfered the stolen funds into her own personal accounts.

According to her guilty plea, as well, Tjosaas also fraudulently issued Fagen checks payable to another company, of which she had control and access to the bank account for. It is estimated that Tjosaas issued 25 fraudulent checks into the account, for a total of more than $1.2 million.

Stolen extravagance
Tjosaas’ lifestyle showed signs of overboard extravagance. According to court documents, she used her illicitly gained funds to buy homes  and other real estate in Florida, Minnesota, Kentucky, and Arizona. In addition, she also purchased timeshares in Arizona and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as at least three automobiles,  including a $45,000 Acura SUV, all-terrain vehicles, a motorcycle, a jet-ski, and a $100,000 sailboat.

She also spent over $2 million on credit cards from 2007-2015. $1.5 million of that amount was spent on an American Express card from June, 2011 to January of 2015. Her credit charges included:

• $346,000 in airline tickets
• $213,000 on hotels
• $118,000 on jewelry
• $112,000 on sports and concert tickets
•$92,000 on clothing and apparel
• $91,000 on restaurants
• $75,000 on furniture
• $43,000 on timeshare fees

Tjosaas was described as non-stop traveling, splitting most of her time between Minnesota and Florida with her credit card records also detailing that she regularly flew around the country on vacation and attended sporting events and concerts. Credit card records showed that Tjosaas traveled to Europe, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Arizona, Alaska, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Las Vegas, and Florida.

Overall, Tjosaas was described in court documents as taking approximately $50,000 a month from her employer.

In addition to embezzling money, it is stated in the court documents that Tjosaas issued herself two large bonuses without company authorization. In December, 2013, she had $15,000 direct deposited from a Fagen account into her own personal bank account. She listed this  as a ‘bonus payment’ in the ledgers despite no authorization by Fagen. She also issued herself $50,000 as a bonus payment in December, 2014, as well.

Tjosaas, who was fired from Fagen in November, 2015, had a reported salary of more than $240,000.

Justice is served
According to the sentencing memo, her actions were “Not a lapse in judgement; it was a systematic effort to steal from her employer.”

According to the West Central Tribune, Tjosaas, who is also the 38-year-old mother of two children, had asked the court for leniency and her defending attorney Timothy Webb argued for a lighter sentence than the sentencing guidelines down to 30 months in prison.

In the end, Tjosaas was convicted of one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering, which resulted in a her 78 month-long sentence, which is the maximum sentence for her federally charged crimes. She had pleaded guilty to both counts on May 6, 2016 in a written plea agreement after being charged for the counts on April 18, 2016. The sentence also includes three years of supervised release and $5,773,420 in restitution payments.

Her multiple properties will be taken and utilized for paying the restitution, but according to Attorney Joseph Dixon, who represented Fagen, the properties’ total monetary value is unlikely to fulfill the over $5 million ordered for restitution.

According to the StarTribune, the courtroom was full to the brim for the sentencing, with overflow seating having to have been arranged in a secondary courtroom for attendees to view a video feed. U.S. Attorney Joseph Thompson prosecuted the case.

Attorney Dixon provided the following statement from Fagen about the sentence, “Fagen, Inc. appreciates the hard work of the investigators and prosecutors and was gratified that justice was done.”