Farmington woman charged with felony theft of $95,000

Desperate for money, woman allegedly embezzles money from her Lakeville bank employer

The Dakota County Attorney’s Office charged Leah Marie Bremner of Farmington with felony theft by swindle for $95,000 at the Lakeville bank where she worked.

“This is a significant economic crime and is the 19th theft over $50,000 in the last five years in Dakota County,” County Attorney Jim Backstrom said in a press release.

Bremner, 31, worked at the bank and allegedly took the money in incremental amounts between May and October 2010.

The criminal complaint details the following:

On Oct. 4, 2010, Lakeville police responded to a call of internal bank theft. Bremner’s supervisor confronted her about discrepancies in her teller and vault entries. She admitted that she stole money from the bank because her husband recently lost his job and the couple had financial problems.

When asked how much, Bremner allegedly wrote on a piece of paper “86,000.” The bank official told police Bremner was “distraught, hysterical, crying and rocking back and forth in her chair during the contact.”

On Oct. 5, 2010, Bremner sent an email to a coworker saying she lost her job for a “stupid decision,” and “I am starting to face the reality of what I did and it is something I will have to pay the consequence for which I am prepared to do.”

An initial audit revealed $95,000 in cash was missing. The investigation revealed that Bremner falsified daily entries that allowed her through time to take cash from the bank while keeping the drawer balanced. The entries showed she “bought” cash from the vault to balance her teller drawer and would then “reverse” the entry she made to make it look like the money in the vault was balanced.

The audit also found that Bremner tried to conceal her embezzlement by falsifying a log so it looked like she provided $86,000 to an armored car service. She tried to cover the drawer shortage by running false transactions through her personal bank accounts.

Bremner made her first court appearance May 3 with a $10,000 bail without conditions set, $5,000 with conditions. She is due to appear in court July 22.

A felony conviction could hold up to a 20 year sentence and $100,000 fine.