A project manager for Shingobee Builders Company, based in Loretto, was sentenced to five years on probation and 90 days in the Hennepin County workhouse for swindling nearly $200,000 from the company, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office announced on Tuesday, March 23.
Cale Lavoie, 47, whose home address is in Pillager, pleaded guilty to one of the three charges of theft by swindle last month. As part of his probation, he must pay restitution to Shingobee of $197,330 and have no contact with the company.
MEDINA POLICE SERGEANT SPENT 3 YEARS ON CASE
The prosecution followed an investigation by Medina Police Sergeant Kevin Boecker.
Medina Public Safety Director Jason Nelson said on March 29, “This is definitely one of the largest cases that our agency has ever investigated.”
He described Boecker’s efforts. “On July 10, 2017, Sergeant Kevin Boecker was assigned a theft case from Shingobee Builders in Loretto where they suspected an ex-employee of potential theft,” Nelson said. “Over the next 14 months he worked tirelessly on this case — conducting search warrants, gathering data, going through hundreds if not thousands of pages of documents – and interviewed many people including other potential suspects.”
“This was an extremely hard and complex case that involved multiple people, places, and states,” Nelson continued, “but he did a fantastic job following the evidence and presenting the case to the county attorney’s office. Because of his efforts and thoroughness, this case resulted in a conviction and a large restitution awarded back to the victim.”
LAVOIE ELIGIBLE FOR HOME CONFINEMENT
When Lavoie was sentenced on March 23, the judge found him eligible for home confinement with electronic monitoring for all of the 90 days of his sentence, according to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office. If Lavoie follows all of the conditions over the next five years, his record will show only a misdemeanor.
At his February guilty plea, Lavoie admitted to the facts of the criminal complaint, according to the county attorney’s office. In summary, the complaint said that as project manager, he oversaw construction budgets and bids from subcontractors. Lavoie used these connections to inflate bid submissions, approve them and then either split the excess funds with the subcontractors or take the difference for himself.
The scheme lasted from 2015 to mid-2017, when Lavoie left the company and the owner became suspicious and found emails Lavoie had sent that indicated what he was doing, according to the county attorney’s office.
Lavoie submitted to the court a letter accepting responsibility for his actions. The letter said:
“Your honor, I humbly stand before you after great reflection on the cause and effect of my unacceptable behavior and the negative impact it has had on relationships I created at Shingobee Builders, in my professional life, as well as in my family… I have been grappling with the pain and anguish my actions have caused all parties involved since July of 2017.
“In these years of reflection, I have truly felt every emotion on the spectrum. As I stand here before you what I am left with is the overwhelming feeling of deep remorse, remorse for the damage this has inflicted on my friendships at Shingobee, remorse for the feelings of shame this has brought to my son, remorse for the anxiety and embarrassment this has brought onto my wife, and remorse for the stigma this has brought onto my mother and father as well as my mother and father-in-law.
“I have carried these feelings since the day I first participated in the offense. I felt it so strongly that I repeatedly reached out to my employer to express my sincere regret. These feelings also drove me to start paying back money, the money I did not earn. Your Honor, it is this remorse and dedication to full restitution that I know ensures that I will never participate in something like this ever again.
“This embarrassment brought on my family has been multiplied and magnified by social media as well as local and regional media outlets. This attention has permanently damaged my personal and professional reputation and has played a big part in my continued internal reflection, keeping me focused on bettering myself for my family.”
He continued, “I am 47 years old. Because of my involvement in this; I have lost my career; my life savings; my retirement funds; my standing in the eyes of my family, my friends, my community members; and career-long clients. As you can imagine, this has also greatly diminished my ability to provide a safe and financially secure future for my family.”
Lavoie added, “I fully accept responsibility for my actions. Yet, I am concerned that my conviction will jeopardize future opportunities to support my family. As the primary bread winner in my family I have lost three jobs because of this issue over the past four years. These jobs were career-makers with great benefits, company vehicles, retirement, and excellent pay. My family and I have suffered financially.”
He continued, “My wife and I have dealt with some serious health issues in the last 10 years, both of us suffer with chronic heart issues… I was a single provider to a family of four. At the time of the offense, I was worried about how to provide for my family if and when I die. I was at my lowest point in my life and vulnerable to pursuing criminal behavior that I have never done before. I immensely regret what I have done. I am so sorry.”