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Southeastern Minn. woman charged with embezzling public money

CANTON, Minn. — A former Canton official has been charged with embezzlement and other felonies after authorities say she stole more than $100,000 over a period of six years.

Former city clerk/treasurer Lolitta Marie Melander, 52, of Lanesboro, is facing nine felony charges in Fillmore County District Court: embezzlement of public funds, permit false claims against government and seven counts of theft. She is scheduled to make her first court appearance Monday, Nov. 18.

The Fillmore County Attorney’s Office and the Minnesota State Auditor were informed of the matter on March 11 by a public accounting firm in La Crosse, Wis., that performs audits for the city, about 50 miles south of Rochester, according to the criminal complaint. In a recent audit, the firm found evidence that Melander had been misappropriating assets through payroll and employee reimbursement transactions during her time as city clerk/treasurer.

Further investigation by the state auditor found that the suspicious activity by Melander dated back to 2011.

The city has recovered some of the misappropriated funds but intends to seek full restitution.

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