Former Reichel Foods CFO charged with four counts of felony theft

Published 2:37 pm Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Allegedly made over $600K in unauthorized charges to company credit cards

 

Charges have been filed in Olmsted County District Court against an Austin man who allegedly made over $600,000 worth of unauthorized charges to Reichel Foods credit cards from 2013-19.

Thomas James Wiechmann, 55, has been charged with four counts of felony theft by swindle.

Court documents state that Wiechmann was the Chief Financial Officer at Reichel Foods in Rochester until March 18, after it was discovered he had made hundreds of thousands of dollars in unauthorized charges on his corporate credit card and obtained other financial benefits to which he was not entitled.

The court complaint states that as CFO, Wiechmann was issued various credit cards to use for authorized corporate expenses. These cards earned “reward points” that belonged to Reichel Foods. 

In March, the CEO of Reichel Foods learned that Wiechmann’s credit cards had been used for charges unrelated to corporate business. An investigation of the credit card statements and Wiechmann’s email history revealed that Wiechmann had been using the cards for personal expenses not related to corporate business. The expenses were not authorized by the CEO or anyone else in the company that could grant such authorization.

It was also discovered that Wiechmann was retaining and using the reward points for personal expenses not authorized by Reichel Foods.

Accounting staff at Reichel Foods reviewed credit card statements from 2013-2019 and found hundreds of charges for entertainment, meals, a custom alarm service, retail stores, hotels, airline tickets, and services. The unauthorized charges were estimated as follows:

  • 2013 – $20,063.30
  • 2014 – $69,301.55
  • 2015 – $86,003.08
  • 2016 – $70,264.75
  • 2017 – $101,957.59
  • 2018 – $101,957.59
  • 2019 – $21,747.48

Staff later discovered a US Bank credit card issued to Wiechmann on which additional unauthorized charges were made as follows:

  • 2017 – $41,697.43
  • 2018 – $65,164.24
  • 2019 – $25,015.95

The total unauthorized charged amount was $603,172.96.

Wiechmann’s first court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 27.