She allegedly owes nearly $274,000 to company

 

The former general manager of the company that publishes this newspaper has been charged in a Wisconsin court with bilking more than $270,000 from the firm.

Cynthia R. Jensen, 55, of Kingston, was charged Sept. 25 in Walworth County Circuit Court with seven counts of identity theft for financial gain and two counts of theft in a business setting of more than $10,000, all as a party to a crime.

An initial appearance in the case is scheduled for Oct. 17 in Elkhorn, Wis.

According to the criminal complaint, Jensen, former general manager of Rock Valley Publishing, Southern Lakes Newspapers and Southern Lakes Publishing in Delavan, Wis., still owes the company $273,991 in unauthorized transactions made from the company to herself and her husband between May 2015 and early 2018.

Rock Valley Publishing publishes 17 weekly newspapers in Northern Illinois, including The Independent and the Lombardian.

Company owners Peter Cruger and John Cruger notified police July 13 that a Town Bank employee made them aware of fraudulent signatures on seven company checks made out to Jensen and her husband Kim Jensen between Nov. 21, 2017, and Jan. 26, 2018, according to the complaint.

The checks appeared to have been signed by John Cruger, but Cruger said the signature was not his, the complaint states. Six of the checks totaling $14,235 were made out to Cynthia Jensen, and a check for $4,000 was made out to Kim Jensen, the complaint contends.

The Crugers hired an accountant who verified the company’s finding that online payments from both companies were made into Jensen’s personal account dating to May 2015, according to the complaint. The accountant also verified payments made from Jensen’s slot-machine gaming business to the company that appeared to be an attempt to pay back some of the funds she took, the complaint states.

The Crugers met with Jensen in February, and she admitted to the transactions but said she had done nothing wrong, considered the transactions a loan and said she had paid it back with interest, according to the complaint.

Another meeting was scheduled with Jensen in March, but that meeting did not occur. The Crugers found Jensen had left the company and left behind her keys and a computer file outlining the money she owed to each company, according to the complaint.

However, the amounts in the file differed from the amounts Jensen admitted owing the company in February, the complaint states. The file indicated Jensen owed Southern Lakes Publishing $99,982 and Rock Valley Publishing $16,504, according to the complaint.

Jensen sent a message to John Cruger a short time later stating she would send a check for $99,982 if the Crugers would agree the money she took from the company was a loan. The Crugers did not respond to the message because the transactions were not authorized as a loan, however, Jensen sent a check for $99,982 to John Cruger’s home address, according to the complaint.

An internal audit of the companies showed Jensen still owes Southern Lakes Publishing $243,078 and Rock Valley Publishing $30,913, according to the complaint.

 

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