The owner of a Blaine bookkeeping company faces charges that he swindled nearly $72,000 from the Sno Barons Snowmobile Club.

James Paul Allen, 52, allegedly stole $71,620 from the club, according to a criminal complaint filed in Anoka County District Court. The crime carries a maximum term of 20 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.

According to the complaint, the club’s treasurer called police in January after noticing several suspicious checks drawn against the club account. From October 2015 to November 2016, checks with allegedly forged signatures were made out to a company called Good Steward Bookkeeping of Minnesota. That company is owned by Allen, and the checks were deposited into Good Steward’s account at Financial One Credit Union in Blaine.

Allen began doing the club’s bookkeeping in April 2015 and had access to the club’s laptop computer and checks.

In November, the club’s treasurer and former treasurer went to Allen’s home to retrieve the computer and found digital copies of 78 suspect checks. Because they had been backdated to a previous year, they would not have shown up in the current year’s reports.

Allen was released on a $40,000 bond and awaits trial. His attorney, David R. Lundgren, declined to comment, noting that the case is still pending.

 

Gabriel Sanchez is a University of Minnesota student on assignment for the Star Tribune.