Woman charged with exploiting $2.5M check error
Thursday, May 31, 2007
MINNEAPOLIS -- An errant computer keystroke led the state to accidentally issue a $2.5 million check to a school counselor -- who spent thousands on cars, jewelry and electronics, prosecutors said.
Sabrina Walker, 37, was charged Tuesday with theft by swindle and concealing the proceeds of a crime. She remained in jail Wednesday in lieu of $200,000 bail.
The state's accounting system was handling money for the Department of Human Services that was intended for the Hennepin County Medical Center when the check was issued to Walker by mistake in March.
Walker was in the state's system because she was once paid $84 as a court witness. Investigators found that Walker's vendor number in the state system was only one number off the hospital's nine-digit number.
Walker, along with a man she lived with, allegedly bought a $500,000 certificate of deposit, funded two retirement accounts, bought a $500,000 Treasury bond, spent $5,500 on jewelry, $3,817 at Best Buy and $2,069 on limousine services, according to the criminal complaint.
Walker also allegedly bought two cars, called the state to report the check, then bought two more cars, prosecutors said.
She has been placed on leave until the case is resolved.
Her criminal attorney, Mark Larsen, said there was more to the story than just the criminal complaint submitted by prosecutors. The complaint "fails to recite all the pertinent facts," he said.
"This is a far cry from an individual who is turning her back on what has happened here," he said.
The Department of Human Services obtained a judge's order freezing Walker's bank account. The agency said Wednesday it was working into improve internal controls on manual payments.