Bookkeeper accused of embezzling to place online bets

The bookkeeper for Farm Mercantile in Fairfax, Minn.,0 faces five charges of filing false tax returns because she failed to report $266,333 in embezzled income. In all, she allegedly pocketed $535,000 from the hardware and farm supply store from 1998 to 2016.

The bookkeeper had authority to sign and issue company checks in the name of the store’s owner. According to the indictment, she used company money to pay her credit cards, which she used to gamble online.

The indictment only addresses tax returns filed from 2012 to 2016. Under federal law, filers must report illegal income as well as legal.

Advice: Always keep at least two sets of eyes on the books. As a rule, it is also wise to have two employees approve large purchases. An annual outside audit can either deter or stop embezzlement before the damage grows too large.