A.L. woman charged in theft from local DFL Party

Published 3:12 pm Thursday, February 16, 2017

An Albert Lea woman is facing financial transaction credit card fraud after allegedly stealing more than $4,000 from the Freeborn County DFL Party.

Laura Jean Walker, 38, made her first appearance on the charge Thursday.

Court documents state Walker was charged after an Albert Lea officer received a complaint from a Freeborn County DFL leader on Dec. 1 that Walker stole money from the party by making unauthorized transactions with a debit card beginning Aug. 20, 2015.

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An investigation reportedly showed 30 unauthorized transactions, two unauthorized fees and four unexplained deposits on the account from Aug. 20, 2015, to Oct. 21, 2016. Court documents state the total amount of unauthorized transactions and fees was $4,360, and four deposits that could not be explained were credited to the party’s account, leaving a $2,047 loss.

Court documents state Walker had one of the two debit cards that had been issued to the account.

In an interview with police, Walker allegedly acknowledged that she used the card for personal use not related to DFL business. She said she didn’t know how many times she used the card for personal use, court documents state, but said she used the money for day-to-day expenses while she was out of work.

Walker reportedly stated she put about $2,000 back into the account, and she was going to put the rest of the money back into the account when she got a job, but couldn’t because the account was frozen.

Walker requested a public defender on Thursday.

District Court Judge Steven Schwab released her on her own recognizance, contingent on Walker making contact with probation, keeping the court and her attorney informed of her current address, remaining law abiding and making future court appearances.

Walker’s next court appearance is scheduled for March 2.

Walker and Freeborn County DFL Party Chairwoman Julie Ackland declined to comment Thursday.


About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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