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Perham woman faces embezzlement charges

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Detroit Lakes, 56501
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Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

PERHAM -- The Perham Police Department has filed a criminal complaint in Otter Tail County District Court charging that 50-year-old Ruth Ann Ramsay of rural Perham embezzled funds from her former employer.

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Ramsay has been charged with three felony counts, which carry combined maximum sentences of 60 years in prison and/or a $300,000 fine.

According to Perham Police Chief Brian Nelson, the complaint alleges that through an examination of Minnesota Eyecare Network internal records, it was discovered that Ramsay had embezzled funds in excess of $124,000 from 1997 until Sept. 2007.

Minnesota Eyecare Network operates clinics in Long Prairie, Pelican Rapids, Wadena and the Perham Eye Clinic.

According to court documents Dr. Tim Nietzke of Perham, who is a partner in Minnesota Eyecare Network, first contacted the Perham Police Department on September 24, 2007 after the Network board had determined there were financial discrepancies in the company's records. As Director of Clinics, Ramsay was the central bookkeeper for Minnesota Eye Care's four facilities including the Perham Eye Clinic.

An accounting firm subsequently conducted a forensic accounting examination of records. The firm allegedly determined there had been a net loss to the Network of at least $124,967.55.

It is alleged that Ramsay stole cash from deposits in the amount of $104,367.21, cashed company checks in the amount of $5,531.57, credited three personal credit cards with funds from corporate credit card merchant accounts in the amount of $5,383.78, and created fraudulent/fictitious credit entries to the general journal and accounting system for services and materials provided to friends and family in the amount of $9,694.99.

On Dec. 10, 2007 Dr. Nietzke advised the Perham Police Department of the results of the forensic accounting investigation. Chief Nelson proceeded to gather evidence and to prepare the criminal complaint.

At press time, Ramsay's first court appearance had not yet been scheduled.

Ramsay has also been the defendant in a civil case filed by Minnesota Eyecare Network. On Nov. 9, the Network asked for a temporary restraining order to enjoin Ramsay from "spending, liquidating, transferring, moving, or otherwise converting assets."

Judge Senyk granted the request and ordered the Sheriff to seize certain property. On Nov. 9, Otter Tail County Sheriff's officers entered Ramsay's property and seized three Harley Davidson motorcycles.

At that time all of Ramsay's financial accounts were frozen.

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