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Charges: Woman stole $470K from employer to support her essential oils business

The 49-year-old has a history of fraud and theft.
Tamara Gretz

A woman with a history of fraud has been charged with swindling her employer out of $470,000 and using it to support her own side business.

Tamara Gretz, 49, of Mankato, has been charged with card fraud, check forgery and theft by swindle after allegedly stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from NuStar Realty over a period of several years.

The alarm was raised last month, when the company owner was told a business check had been rejected due to insufficient funds.

Suspicion fell on Gretz, who had been employed by the firm as an office manager for six years, and who had control over the company's QuickBooks account.

She provided the company's attorney with the QuickBooks records, which showed a figure of over $71,000, but when she was asked to provide actual bank account records, she placed a single piece of paper down on the owner's desk and quickly left the room.

Rather than $71,000, the actual balance was a little over $1,200.

Further investigation determined she had embezzled just over $470,000 from company coffers between 2014 and 2019.

Some $238,487 of this was via forged checks, $118,648 in other checks, $108,551 in unauthorized credit card payments, and $4,360 in forged checks to family members.

Study of her credit card statements suggested she was charging items on the company card to support her essential oils side business as well as buy items for her family.

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She told police she started making the payments when she was in debt, and that she had lied to her husband about it, telling him the extra money she was getting was the result of company bonuses.

Gretz said she'd used the credit card to purchase baby items for her daughter in Virginia, craft items for her company, as well as medications, house payments, and car payments.

In the past she has been convicted of stealing from an employer, and other convictions for felony theft, felony issue dishonored check, felony check forgery, and felony financial transaction card fraud.

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