Former #2 Man At Rochester Company Charged With Huge Theft
Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - A man who was the longtime chief financial officer of a well-known Rochester company has been charged with stealing a large amount of money from the firm.
More than half a million dollars.
Four felony counts of theft by swindle were filed Monday in Olmsted County Court against 55-year-old Thomas Wiechmann of Austin.
The criminal complaint says Wiechmann worked as the second-ranking officer for Reichel Foods and had been with the firm since 1997. He was fired in March this year after the large theft of money was discovered.
The complaint says Wiechmann used Reichel credit cards for personal reasons. The complaint is based on purchases that were made between 2013 and 2019 and they totaled more than $600,000.
An investigator noted in his report, “Hardly a day went by without unauthorized credit card charges in Wiechmann's company credit cards.”
According to the complaint:
Reichel Foods used company credit cards to make certain business purchases. As CFO, Wiechmann was issued various credit cards that he was able to use for authorized corporate expenses. These credit cards earned "reward points" that can be redeemed to make additional purchases. These reward points belonged to Reichel Foods. In March of 2021, the Chief Executive Officer of Reichel Foods ("CEO") learned of that Wiechmann's credit cards had been used for many charges that were entirely unrelated to corporate business. Closer examination of the credit card statements and other investigation, including a review of Wiechmann's e-mails, revealed that Wiechmann had been using his corporate credit card for personal expenses, unrelated to corporate business. These expenses were not authorized by the CEO or anyone in the company with the authority to authorize these charges. In addition to using the corporate credit cards for unauthorized purchases, Wiechmann was also retaining and using the reward points for personal expenses not authorized by Reichel Foods.
Accounting staff at Reichel Foods carefully examined the credit card statements from 2013 through 2019 and compiled a spreadsheet listing each unauthorized charge shown on Wiechmann's credit card statements. There were hundreds of charges for entertainment, meals, a custom alarm service, and retail stores including, but not limited to Fleet Farm, Menards, Lowes, Sams Club, Costco, HyVee, charges for hotels, airline tickets, and services such as credit reports. Hardly a day went by without unauthorized credit card charges in Wiechmann's company credit cards. The unauthorized credit card charges were estimated as follows:
The unauthorized credit card charges were estimated as follows:
Staff later discovered a US Bank credit card issued to Wiechmann on which accounting staff discovered additional unauthorized charges, broken down by year, as follows:
Wiechmann has been ordered to make his first court appearance next month.
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