Charges: Woman embezzled $1.3M to treat sick dog, shop, fund husband's business

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An Eden Prairie mother is charged in the largest embezzlement case ever prosecuted by the Hennepin County attorney, according to a release from Mike Freeman's office.

Stephanie Langten Castillo, 42, is accused of stealing $1.3 million, according to the criminal complaint.

The vice president of a Golden Valley company, Castillo told investigators the thefts began when she was desperate for money to treat her cancer-stricken dog. Later, she used money to pay for shopping bills and to fund her husband’s business in Mexico, Freeman said.

The Star Tribune reported that Castillo posted $300,000 bail. Paul Dworak, the suspect's attorney, said that Castillo has two young children and is six months pregnant. Castillo declined comment to the newspaper.

According to the criminal complaint, Castillo is charged with eight counts of felony theft by swindle. She's accused of embezzling money from four companies while working as an executive for Balderson Management, a management company for commercial properties that is owned by her mother.

The complaint indicates she had access to clients’ funds and drafted fake invoices for vendor services. An independent audit of Balderson’s financial records showed that Castillo wrote 404 checks totaling $1,306,709.23 between January 2009 and September 2014.

If Castillo pleads guilty or is convicted by a jury, state sentencing guidelines recommend 49-68 months in prison. Freeman indicated he would seek double the recommended time.

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