Wiechmann sentenced to probation for Reichel Foods swindle

Published 6:03 pm Tuesday, February 14, 2023

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The Austin man accused of embezzling over $600,000 from a Rochester company has been sentenced.

Thomas Wiechmann, 57, was sentenced to three years supervised probation in Olmsted County District Court Tuesday for felony theft by swindle. He was also sentenced to 100 hours of community service work to be completed in a year and pay $1,085 in fines while following several conditions.

Wiechmann was originally charged in September of 2021 with four felony counts of theft by swindle for money stolen across a range of dates from 2013-19, during his time as Chief Financial Officer for Reichel Foods in Rochester.

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Loretta Young, of St. Charles, who was a controller for Reichel during this time, has also been charged with aiding and abetting in the case.

Court documents state that Wiechmann was the CFO at Reichel Foods in Rochester until March 18, 2021, 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 of 2021, 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.

The total unauthorized charged amount was $603,172.96.

Wiechmann’s troubles were compounded in early February of this year when he was named in a lawsuit by Reichel Foods and Stowaway Storage, LLC, both of which are owned by Reichel CEO Craig Reichel.

Also read: Reichel Foods sues former CFO convicted of fraud, others

Also named in the suit is Wiechmann’s wife and City of Austin Director of Human Relations Tricia Wiechmann, their sons Bradley and Daniel Wiechmann and Loretta and Tanner Young.

The suit charges that not only did Thomas commit the crimes he was accused of, but that his family both knew and took advantage of money and reward points illegally taken by Thomas.

An attorney retained by both Thomas and Tricia Wiechmann for the lawsuit, John P. Boyle, released a statement earlier this month disputing the lawsuit and denying that she did anything wrong.

City of Austin City Administrator Craig Clark also released a statement acknowledging that the city was aware of the lawsuit but declined further comment.