A jury trial has been scheduled for Peggy Lynn Nelson, 50, of Fergus Falls for stealing from her former employer.

According to court records on July 26, 2019, the doctors and owners of a local eye care clinic in Fergus Falls reported a theft to law enforcement based on a forensic accounting of their financial records.

Court records indicate that Nelson who was employed at the business from 2014 until April of 2019 set up an unauthorized PayPal account with the business name and linked it to a business checking account at a Fergus Falls bank and a business credit card.

Prosecutors say Nelson used the business PayPal account for personal items which were found to include a cellphone, pet supplies, video games, eBay shopping, as well as two cash payments; one to a family member for $60, and one to herself for $50. None of the payments were authorized by the business.

According to court records, the total amount of fraudulent PayPal charges was $776.11. On April 8, 2017, Nelson also made an ACH withdrawal of $1,700 without the approval of the business owners as a bonus. The business had to pay taxes on that money as it was withdrawn as wages, bringing the total to $2,045.96.

In August and September 2018, Nelson also added 24 hours of personal time to her account without authorization. Nelson used those hours at $19/hour. The total stolen was $456. Nelson also had 30 hours of overpayment without authorization at $19 an hour, bringing the total to $570.

Law enforcement interviewed Nelson in September of 2019 at the Fergus Falls Police Department. Nelson stated she would often use her personal Amazon Prime account to order items for the business as she would get free shipping. She stated she believed that she may have simply had the wrong credit card selected when ordering the personal items.

Court records also say regarding the $1,700 bonus, Nelson stated she needed some dental work done and claimed that her employers told her that they would help by paying for the procedure. She indicated that the doctors at the eye clinic had given her the business credit card to pay for the dental work and had made the appointment for her.

When law enforcement spoke with doctors at the business they denied making the agreement with Nelson.

Nelson stated that she never added personal hours to her account. When confronted with the paystubs, Nelson admitted she had gone back and looked at what the previous employee in her position had gotten and found that that employee had received more vacation time than she was getting so she then added the 24 hours without approval. Regarding the extra pay hours, Nelson stated that as the demand increased, she simply adjusted her hours and documented the hours that she was working. This again was not something that had been discussed with the owners or approved prior to Nelson doing this. 
Nelson was lcharged with felony-level theft. She is scheduled to appear for a jury trial in Otter Tail County District Court on October 19.

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