Former city clerk charged with theft by swindle
Former Willow River City Clerk Mary Angela Leonard has been charged with one count of theft by swindle, punishable by not more than 20 years in prison, and/or a fine of $100,000.
According to a Pine County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) press release and Leonard’s court complaint, then Willow River Mayor Troy Janke spoke with Sgt. Jeff Nelson August 20, 2012, in reference to missing municipal funds. After an extensive investigation, the PCSO, working in cooperation with the city of Willow River and a forensic accounting firm, determined Leonard, 56, had taken $167,560.65 from the city treasury.
The theft occurred between May 2009 and August 2012. According to the complaint, Northview Bank contacted the city August 13, 2012, stating Leonard had been cashing multiple checks written to her on the city account. City councilor Tom Jensen picked up the city’s bank records that day and reviewed them.
The complaint states Jensen met with Leonard August 14, 2012, when she was suspended. At that time, Leonard admitted to Jensen she stole money from the city and had a gambling problem.
In a voluntary statement later given to Nelson, Leonard (who was accompanied by her attorney) described writing checks to herself, signing Janke’s name and accounting for the funds under a legitimate account on the city’s computer.
According to the complaint, Leonard stated she needed to take responsibility for what she had done and was glad it was over.