Zachary Spader's alleged Habitat for Humanity swindle may bring more charges
Zachary Spader, formerly a manager of the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, was charged in Ramsey County this week for allegedly pocketing tens of thousands from the store.
Police now say Spader could be on the hook for even more charges.
Habitat first discovered a discrepancy in the books in May. Though management wouldn't say how much was unaccounted for at the time, they noted it was enough to hire external investigators to perform a forensic audit. Auditors traced the discrepancies to Spader and turned the findings over to New Brighton Police, says Tony Paetznick, the city's deputy director of public safety.
Spader admitted to supervisors that he had been making bogus returns and pocketing the money over his tenure at ReStore, police say, though it's unclear exactly how much was stolen.
"He estimated his theft to be about $60,000 over his period of employment, but when they went through, the actual amount of discrepancy was over $90,000," says Paetznick.
The Ramsey County Attorney's Office charged Spader with three counts of theft by swindle earlier this week. His first court date is slated for Jan. 14.
Those charges only account for the 17 months when Spader worked in New Brighton -- before the ReStore moved from north Minneapolis. Police say evidence against Spader traces back to before the move.
"There's still potentially some charges that could be filed in Hennepin County for the theft that occurred over there in that time frame," Paetznick says.
Early this afternoon, Hennepin County Attorney's Office spokesman Santo Cruz said he was unsure if they planned to charge Spader.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.