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Cloquet bookkeeper sentenced for theft by swindle, must repay $88,000

CARLTON, Minn. -- A longtime bookkeeper for Pine Ridge Homes in Cloquet has been granted a stay of imposition and sentenced to five years of supervised probation for writing some $88,000 in unauthorized checks to herself.

Denise Rae Forconi, 63, of Esko, was sentenced this week in Carlton County Court. She had pleaded guilty to three counts of theft by swindle. Three additional counts were dismissed as part of a plea bargain.

Judge Robert Macaulay also sentenced Forconi to 120 days of local confinement, with credit for two days already served and the balance to be served on electronic home monitoring. She was ordered to pay $88,709.70 in restitution on all six counts.

Forconi was a 29-year employee of Pine Ridge Homes, where she was head bookkeeper.

According to the criminal complaint, after Forconi’s retirement in April 2013, her successor discovered accounting irregularities.

A review showed Forconi had regularly drafted unauthorized checks in her name. She reportedly billed one or more expenditure accounts for nonexistent expenses and then took the funds, drafted an unauthorized check in her name and then cashed or deposited the check at local banks.

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