MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The former director of the Long Prairie Chamber of Commerce faces two counts of theft after she allegedly stole more than $29,000 in funds and spent it at nail salons, lingerie shops and tattoo removal facilities, among other places.
Kimberly Michele Burkett, 33, of Browerville, faces one count of theft and one count of theft by swindle, according to documents filed Wednesday in Todd County. If convicted of both counts, she could face a sentence of up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $40,000.
According to court documents, the charges stem from an investigation conducted by the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office and the Todd County Sheriff’s Office.
Investigators were first tipped off about the alleged misconduct after a bank called the chamber, saying there was an overdraft on one of the chamber’s accounts.
An investigation revealed that funds were missing from three chamber accounts over which Burkett had exclusive credit card access.
Chamber account statements showed that Burkett had written checks to herself (not regular payroll) and used account funds to fill what appeared to be personal needs. The statements showed payments to Victoria’s Secret, tattoo removal facilities and nail salons.
Chamber bank records also showed that Burkett made car payments on her husband’s vehicle using chamber funds. He husband is Nathan Burkett, the Todd County Administrator.
The chamber estimates that Burkett embezzled $29,191.68.
Records showed that suspicious transactions took place shortly after Burkett was hired in July 2011 and that they continued through April 30, 2012.
Police arrested Burkett on May 11 and brought her to the Otter Tail County Detention Facility, court documents said.