Crime blotter: Grand larceny in the suburbs

Categories: Crime

By Sarah Lemagie

In March of 2005, Mark Litherland, an owner of Cresland Mortgage Company in Plymouth, noticed a number of suspicious transactions on one of the company's bank accounts. Litherland began reviewing the company's financial records, including cancelled checks.

His findings, according to a criminal complaint filed last week in Hennepin County District Court: over 80 checks made payable to longtime employee Peggy Ann Lange, with his signature forged on them. The checks totaled over $215,000. He also found 10 checks totaling over $3,500 written to the U.S. Department of Education.

At the time the complaint was filed, Litherland had not yet reviewed two years of records and estimated that the company's total losses would exceed $300,000.

When questioned by police, Lange admitted to embezzling from the company. The 49-year-old Richfield resident also confessed that she had written the forged checks to the Department of Education to pay for her daughter's student loan. Lange now faces seven counts of felony theft by swindle.

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