The bookkeeper of a Princeton business is accused of stealing more than $34,000 from her employer.

Now she is facing felony theft charges in Mille Lacs County District Court.

Michelle C. Schara, 53 of Princeton, is charged with three counts of theft without consent related to financial transactions between April 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019.

Schara worked as a bookkeeper for Princeton-based trucking company. Schara was fired in July 2019 for failing to complete work, according to a court records. On Sept. 11, 2019, police were contacted after company officials reconciling the company’s books found a number of unauthorized payments to Schara, records state.

Schara was allegedly authorized to be paid $250 each week for her work. However, company records showed numerous transactions to Schara that did not coincide with her pay dates, court records state.

From April 1 to June 30,2018, Schara allegedly overpaid herself $4,100. From July 1 to Dec. 31, 2018, she allegedly overpaid herself $12,820. From Jan. 1, 2019 to June 30, 2019, Schara allegedly overpaid herself $17,350.

The overpayments were never authorized by company officials, court records state. Schara never attempted to repay the misappropriated funds.

Schara could face 10 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine in connection with the two thefts that exceeded $5,000 and five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine for the theft that totaled $4,100.

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Jeff Hage is the managing editor of the Monticello Times. He majored in journalism at the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire.

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