MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A 44-year-old woman from Chokio, Minn., was sentenced to 18 months in prison in Fergus Falls Federal Court on Thursday for stealing $300,000 from the school district she worked for over a 12-year period.
Liana Claassen, who had been the business manager for the Chokio-Alberta School District, was charged on May 2, 2011, with one count of wire fraud in connection with the crime. She pleaded guilty on July 29, 2011.
In her plea agreement, she admitted that between July of 1999 and August of 2010, she used the school district’s computer to pay herself more money than her salary dictated. As the business manager for the school district, Claassen was responsible for the payroll for all district employees and was trusted to authorize bank transfers.
She also admitted to illegally transferring money to her retirement account and covering up the scheme by making misrepresentations to her employers about the district’s financial condition.
Claassen was also ordered to pay more than $260,000 in restitution.