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Rose Creek city clerk accused of swindling

Published 10:13am Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Report: Worker took thousands from rural fire fund

The Rose Creek city clerk faces felony charges for allegedly swindling thousands of dollars from three rural townships that help fund the Rose Creek Fire Department.

Janet Marie Nelsen, 57, of Rose Creek, was charged last week with theft by transferring property with no consent, theft by swindle and theft by check.

A Mower County detective met with the Windom Township supervisor in October and learned about possible inaccuracies with the Rose Creek Fire Department and Rural Fire Association’s funds. According to the court complaint, Windom, Nevada and Marshall townships combine a total of $5,500 in funding for the Rural Fire Association each year, and the city of Rose Creek matches those funds for a total of $11,000. Nelsen was reportedly the bookkeeper for the Rural Fire Association, as well.

The Rose Creek fire chief had grown suspicious about the bookkeeping, and according to the court complaint, Nelsen became upset. She later showed up at a township meeting and reportedly said, “Here, you guys take this,” and handed over the association’s checking account information and checks.

The Windom Township treasurer who began looking into the bookkeeping said the records “were a mess,” and that she was unable to find receipts and bank records. Furthermore, Nelsen, who was to receive $175 per year for keeping the association’s books, was reportedly paying herself more than once per year and putting checks in her husband’s bank account, as well.

At an emergency meeting with the Rose Creek mayor and township representatives, Nelsen admitted she had done something wrong and didn’t know how much money was missing.

According to the complaint, Nelsen told the detective her husband was having medical problems, so she had written herself unauthorized checks. According to the detective, Nelsen issued herself $525 in 2012, $650 in 2011, $275 in 2010, $500 in 2009, $835 in 2008 and $275 in 2007. Those investigating the issue were unable to find bank records before 2007.

Nelsen has an appearance in Mower County Court set for Feb. 20.


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