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Emily Welker, Published November 01 2013

Fargo woman charged with embezzling more than $37,000 from West Fargo firm

FARGO – An arrest warrant has been issued for a Fargo woman who is accused of embezzling more than $37,000 from a West Fargo transportation company where she worked.

Kari Jo Radtke, 50, was charged Monday in Cass County District Court with one count of Class B felony theft of property.

According to court documents filed in the case, two former fellow employees with Radtke at West Fargo-based OLR Transportation, at 135 21st St. NW, told Detective Derek Cruff in an interview that their then-employee Radtke was fired in April.

OLR’s certified public accountant, Amy Schwartzwalter, and owner, Ryan Regstad, told Cruff that Radtke was let go after they developed suspicions about her dealing with the company’s finances.

An intensive audit of the business revealed Radtke had attempted to hide numerous transactions since November 2011.

Twenty-four checks were written, company officials told Cruff, two of them for more than $1,700, continuing up until October of last year, totaling $37,594.33.

A police report filed in the case says Cruff met with Radtke on Sept. 20 at her new workplace, GMR Trucking and Transport in West Fargo. Radtke initially told Cruff she had no idea why he wanted to speak with her, but she did acknowledge being let go from OLR.

The report says after Cruff showed her copies of the checks, she told him she had been struggling with medical bills and having problems with the residence where her family lived. She expressed regret and indicated she planned to pay back the money, the detective alleges in a report filed with the charges.

The report alleges Radtke told Cruff she did not believe until seeing the figures that she had embezzled $37,000. She had figured it was closer to $20,000.

She told Cruff she would take the checks in large quantities for the owner to sign near paydays and add in the extra checks.

A spokesperson for GMR said Radtke was no longer employed there. A phone number listed as hers was disconnected.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Emily Welker at (701) 241-5541