Two former Big Lot employees accused of stealing over $450,000 from dealership
MOORHEAD - Two former employees of a Moorhead- and Detroit Lakes-based auto dealership are accused of embezzling more than $450,000 from the dealership.
MOORHEAD – Two former employees of a Moorhead- and Detroit Lakes-based auto dealership are accused of embezzling more than $450,000 from the dealership.
Former Big Lot accountant Stuart Jay Larson and General Manager Cory Dean Cambronne were both charged Thursday in Clay County District Court with 10 counts each of felony theft. Larson also faces an 11th felony theft charge in the case.
The co-owner of Big Lot contacted Moorhead police in May 2014 to report that he and his employees had started wondering why the businesses weren't making any money, and discovered Larson and Cambronne had stolen more than $300,000, according to court documents filed with the charges.
One of the officials at Big Lot told police he noticed that Cambronne's accounts receivables started going up, which included a car worth $30,000.
Larson told him it was a mistake, and moved the car to a different account, telling the official he was giving Cambronne an advance because Cambronne was having tax problems and his wages were being garnished by the state.
Larson told the Big Lot official he expected Cambronne to get a $430,000 tax return, at which point the official told Larson to take Cambronne off the the company's signature card.
The official told police he soon discovered the $430,000 was never paid back to the company, which sparked an internal audit.
The Big Lot co-owner told police they confronted the pair, who admitted they embezzled the company by issuing advanced checks and fraudulent receipts, documents state.
The co-owner thought the scam might have originated as far back as 2007, when Larson was hired, and that Cambronne was brought into it when he started with Big Lot in 2011, documents state.
When police interviewed Larson, he told them he knew Cambronne was taking the money, and was wrong not to have reported it, but claimed he received no financial gain himself, documents state.
Larson told police he moved money around to hide the fact Cambronne wasn't paying it back, and in March or April, he stopped trying to hide it.
He later admitted he started taking the money himself around the time Cambronne came to work, usually trying to lump the money in with a transaction he knew Cambronne was making, documents state.
He told police the $131,993.16 linked to his bank account from Big Lot seemed "high," but admitted it was possible, documents state.
In his police interview, Cambronne told police he suffered from a gambling problem.
He admitted to taking money from Big Lot, but didn't think it was as much as police were telling him.
The company's cash shortage amounted to $450,815.80, with $254,292.52 of that linked to Cambronne's bank accounts, documents state.
Both men are set to make their first court appearances in September.