Lilydale city clerk charged with embezzling, still on the jobby Elizabeth Baier, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The Dakota County Attorney's Office has charged a former city clerk of Lilydale with two felony counts after she allegedly swindled $3,342 from the city last year.
Joan Marie Olin, 48, of Mendota Heights, faces one count of theft by swindle and one count of theft after an audit in February determined she had embezzled public funds, according to the criminal complaint filed Wednesday with the Dakota County Court.
In March, a month after the audit, Lilydale Mayor Tom Swain reported the incident to authorities, and the Dakota County Sheriff's Office opened an investigation.
Swain said Olin immediately tendered her resignation and on March 9, gave the city a check signed by her husband for $3,342. But because she was the city's only employee, Swain said the council unanimously agreed to hire her back as a temporary employee until the city found a replacement.
"We had nobody else to fill in," Swain said. "Nobody else knew what was going on. I wasn't going to do it. And she was a competent person that, with an additional oversight, met the conditions of the council and carried on and has done very well."
Olin did not immediately return calls for comment by Minnesota Public Radio.
According to the complaint, Olin increased her salary from $38,000 to $42,000 on August 1, 2008 -- five months before it had been authorized to go into effect. She also failed to have $1,380 withheld in health insurance payments, and she increased her life insurance premium without city authorization.
Olin began working for Lilydale on a temporary basis in 2006 and as a full-time employee in 2007. She was responsible for processing payroll and paying expenses on behalf of the City, among other duties.
Swain said she will continue to work as a consultant until the end of June while she trains her replacement, who city officials hired earlier this week.
If convicted, Olin faces up to five years in prison and $10,000 in fines. She will make her first appearance in court next month.