Woman charged with embezzlement

Kaiserhoff bookkeeper faces four felony theft charges; signature differences noted in complaint

NEW ULM — A Kaiserhoff restaurant bookkeeper has been charged with four felony theft counts for allegedly embezzling more than $27,000 from the business.

Charges were filed Tuesday in Brown County District Court against Angela M. Otto, 400 N. Payne St., New Ulm for allegedly forging checks totaling $27,313.86 since Nov. 1, 2016, according to court documents.

New Ulm Police responded to a report of theft/embezzlement at the Kaiserhoff on Oct. 24. Business owner Jan Veigel told police the theft was discovered when she went to Citizens Bank Minnesota in New Ulm and noticed things that stood out as odd on the bank statement.

Upon closer inspection of cancelled checks at the bank, it was discovered that Otto, the restaurant’s bookkeeper, allegedly wrote checks to herself and her daughter, who Veigel said never worked at the restaurant.

Veigel said Otto began working at the Kaiserhoff in November 2016. Another employee said that was when they identified the first paycheck to be issued to Otto for bookkeeping services.

In addition, Veigel said she has not given or provided any cash advances to Otto.

Veigel pointed out particular details in how she writes her signature on the checks and how the alleged forged signatures are not written that way.

Police found that the page for checks written in a check register were sometimes missing. When the page wasn’t missing, police often found it to have the word “void” written in ink on a carbon copy. In addition, there were other checks that appeared to be there but were not completed in the “Pay to the Order” area or were just blank altogether. There were notes in the note section that did not correlate to the check and why it was written.

Creating a spread sheet breaking down the amounts for the checks every six months, police determined Otto allegedly embezzled at least $27,313.86 since November 2016. With a full review of suspicious items in the carbon copy desk check register against Citizens Bank records, the amount is expected to increase.

One allegedly forged check drawn on the Kaiserhoff account was cashed as recently as the first week of October 2018.

Otto was summoned to appear at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 20 in Brown County District Court.