Woman gets six months for stealing from Eagan employer

A woman received about six months in jail for stealing nearly $80,000 from her former Eagan employer.

Dawn Westphal, 43, formerly of Rosemount, was sentenced in Dakota County District Court on Aug. 12 to 180 days in jail and 10 years of probation for stealing the funds while working as an office manager at an Eagan telecommunications company.

District Judge Jerome Abrams also ordered Westphal to pay $88,391 in restitution.

Westphal, now living in Minot, N.D., pleaded guilty on May 28 to five counts of theft by swindle. Four other counts were dismissed.

Westphal told police she stole $79,945 from her employer from February 2006 to January 2011 because she couldn’t make the mortgage payments on her home after becoming divorced in 2005.

She admitted that she took the money by writing checks to herself and depositing them into her personal account. Westphal then falsified the business’ ledger.

Westphal told police she was too proud to ask for help and knew subconsciously she would never pay back the funds. She said she wanted to take full responsibility for the theft.

After she resigned from the company, irregularities were found in the business’ bank accounts that Westphal was responsible for managing and it was determined that some funds were deposited into Westphal’s personal bank account.

When the business sent Westphal a demand for payment, she responded with a check for about $8,550 and stated that she would attempt to reimburse the remaining amount at a rate of $1,100 per month, according to the criminal complaint. Westphal further stated that if they are not able to agree to the terms, she will “turn myself in to the authorities.”

Eagan police were contacted by the business in May 2011.