Bookkeeper Gets 5 Years for Stealing from Device Company

Nancy Crotti

April 27, 2016

2 Min Read
Bookkeeper Gets 5 Years for Stealing from Device Company

Karen Breyette stole more than $1 million from a small Minnesota medtech company.

Nancy Crotti

A Minnesota bookkeeper has been sentenced to more than 5 years in prison and ordered to pay restitution over the more than $1 million she swindled out of a medical device company .

Karen Breyette, 54, of St. Bonifacius, MN, pleaded guilty last week to 10 counts of theft by swindle, according to a reportin the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Following the prison term, she must remain under supervised release, the newspaper reported.

Breyette apologized to officials of her former employer, PenRad Technologies, at sentencing, the news report said.

The small mammography informatics company in Buffalo, MN, hired Karen Breyette as a controller/bookkeeper in January 2008. Within five months, she was stealing from it, according to prosecutors in nearby Hennepin County, MN, where PenRad used to be based. Her activities were finally discovered in May 2015, after she was charged with seven counts of theft.

According to an amended complaint, Breyette falsely increased her pay and that of her then-husband, Frank Breyette, through the company's accounting software and electronic payroll system. She spent nearly $140,000 on the company credit card for hotel rooms, clothing, home improvement items, jewelry, and a vacation for herself, and her mother. She also forged the company president's name on checks, including one for $6830 to buy silver bullion bars that police later found in her home, and arranged for fraudulent wire transfers directly from the company's accounts, including two totaling $42,000 to a dry cleaning business in which she was part owner, the complaint says.

The thefts took place over such a long period of time that the statute of limitations ran out on the ones that took place in 2008, 2009, and the beginning of 2010. The amended complaint brings the total number counts up to 10, based upon a finding of more thefts that occurred in 2011 and 2012. The total she was charged with stealing amounted to more than $924,000.

Nancy Crotti is a contributor to Qmed and MPMN.

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About the Author(s)

Nancy Crotti

Nancy Crotti is a frequent contributor to MD+DI. Reach her at [email protected].

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