Federal Jury Finds Three Defendants Guilty in $300 Million Nationwide Telemarketing Fraud Scheme Targeting the Elderly
MINNEAPOLIS – A Hastings woman and former elected official was sentenced today to 27 months in prison for misappropriating more than $650,000 in public funds.
According to court documents, from December 2012 through October 2020, Maryann Helen Stoffel, 70, used her elected position as the Clerk of the Township of Vermillion to misappropriate more than $650,000 of Township funds. Although Stoffel had signature authority over the Township’s bank account, Township checks required at least two signatures. As part of the fraud scheme, Stoffel, at times, forged the signatures of the Township’s Treasurer and the Chairman of the Township Board on Township checks. At other times, Stoffel solicited signatures from the Township’s Treasurer and the Chairman of the Township Board on blank Township checks by falsely representing that she would use the checks to pay the Township’s bills. Instead of using the funds to pay the Township’s bills, Stoffel transferred the funds to her personal bank account for her own use and benefit. Stoffel concealed her fraud from the Township and from the State of Minnesota by excluding the unauthorized payments to herself on the Township’s annual report.
On March 16, 2021, Stoffel pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. In addition to her prison sentence, U.S. District Judge Patrick J. Schiltz ordered Stoffel to serve one year of supervised release and pay $652,674.66 in restitution.
This case was the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly A. Svendsen.