MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A jury convicted a former Minneapolis police officer last week of forgery and of swindling money from committee funds, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office said Tuesday.
The jury spent four hours deliberating Friday before convicting 60-year-old Marie Przynski, of Maplewood, following a week-long trial. Przynski is slated to be sentenced on Feb. 5 by County District Court Judge Marilyn Rosenbaum.
Przynski’s conviction stems from a 2009 incident. According to a criminal complaint, Przynski controlled the checkbook for an organization on which she was an organizing committee co-chair. That organization, the 2010 International Association of Women Police Conference, had a checking account at a Minneapolis credit union for raising money and making purchases.
In December of 2009, suspicions were stirred when Przynski left for a 10-day vacation. While she was gone, another police officer went into her office to look at the checkbook register to determine the account’s balance. Near the checkbook, the officer found a withdrawal slip for $1,500. The officer told his superiors about the slip and made a photo copy of the checkbook.
When Przynski returned from her vacation, the deputy chief of police asked if she had made any withdrawals from the organization’s account before going on vacation. She said no and that she’d go get the checkbook. When she failed to do so, the deputy chief called her and learned she was at the bank.
The deputy chief ordered Przynski to return to the office, and she was relieved of duty.
(The case was initially charged in 2010, but the judge dismissed it. The attorney’s office successfully appealed that decision.)
Before the trial, Przynski gave prosecutors copies of the checkbook and register, in which two new entries were added, reading “Withdrawal-mass/bulk” and “Deposit-mailing deferred.” Both entries were for $1,500.
Mylon Masson, Przynski’s co-chair on the organizing committee, testified, saying the new entries were made to cover up Przynski’s theft.
According to the attorney’s office:
“Further investigation found that after withdrawing the $1,500, Przynski deposited $600 into her personal account the day she left on vacation and that allowed a large check to clear four days later. After talking to [the deputy chief], she withdrew $1,500 from her account and put it into the association’s account.”
Mike Freeman, the county attorney, said that although the amount of money involved was “not huge,” it’s important that both the public and law enforcement officers know that “no one is above the law.”
Sentencing guidelines recommend probation for Przynski’s crime.