Crime blotter

Grand larceny on the mean streets of Minnetonka

Kathleen Mary Snell began working as a bookkeeper for Crossroad Chiropractic Clinic in June, 1997. At the time the clinic was located in Minnetonka. Last year it relocated to St. Louis Park.

According to a criminal complaint issued last week by the Minnetonka Police Department, Snell allegedly began stealing money from the company less than a year after her employment commenced. The 53-year-old Brooklyn Park resident's method was simple. When insurance companies, such as State Farm or Farmers Insurance, would send checks to the clinic, Snell would simply deposit them into her own personal bank account.

Snell's embezzlement scheme went undetected for a remarkably long period of time. Between January, 1998 and July, 2004, she allegedly deposited 347 checks--or roughly one per week--totaling $151,246.54 into four seperate personal bank accounts. The payments ranged from $65 up to almost $4,000.

(According to Minnetonka police investigator Steve Owens, a fifth Snell bank account has subsequently been located, but it's uncertain at this time how much money was deposited there.)

It wasn't until March of last year that Crossroad Chiropractic officials began to suspect something was amiss, according to the criminal complaint. That's when they were contacted by a law firm inquiring about debts owed by Snell. The company then began going through its books and discovered numerous irregularities.

According to the criminal complaint, Snell admitted embezzling money from the company when she was confronted by Minnetonka police last December. She allegedly told the cops that she only took checks from insurance companies because she "thought it was easier to hide."

Snell has been charged with one count of theft by swindle. If convicted she faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.

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