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Forum Communications, Published December 12 2009

Dilworth woman pleads guilty to embezzling nearly $68,000

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – A Dilworth woman who kept the books for a Grand Forks chiropractor’s office has admitted to embezzling nearly $68,000, according to a detective’s report.

Tara Jo Melin, 28, wrote checks to herself and made fraudulent electronic withdrawals from Dr. Wallace King’s business account between April 2008 and April 2009, the report says.

On July 23, King told police that Melin, his former bookkeeper, had stolen money from him, and a detective’s review of copies of checks and journal entries found that $67,854.11 was missing. She was booked into the Grand Forks County jail on Oct. 8 and was released the same day, promising to appear for all her court dates, a corrections officer said.

Melin pleaded guilty this week to a felony charge of theft of property. She accepted a plea agreement that, if approved by a judge, would require her to serve 90 days with the North Dakota Department of Corrections and five years of supervised probation. The agreement says the prosecution is not opposed to Melin doing her time on electronic home monitoring.

The agreement requires Melin to pay King at least $20,000 before her Feb. 3 sentencing. The total amount of restitution she must pay is to be determined at sentencing, the agreement says.