A former Hamline University employee allegedly stole nearly $160,000 from the school, according to criminal charges.
Teresa A. Garin, 51, of St. Paul, was charged Wednesday in Ramsey County District Court with three counts of theft by swindle. Authorities allege that she stole $159,383.57 from Hamline University between 2015 and 2017 with help from her daughter and a man who fathered a child with one of her other daughters.
“Garin said that all of her children came to her seeking financial help,” the criminal complaint said. “… Garin said the money went to pay off existing bills and daily living expenses. She said she initially planned to cash only a few checks, but once she was able to pay her bills and help her children, the embezzlement continued.”
Garin’s daughter, Rachel M. Latimer, 24, of St. Paul, was charged Tuesday with five counts of theft by swindle for her alleged role. Zarice L. Hoyt, 30, of St. Paul, was charged Tuesday with three counts of the same crime.
The three were charged via summons, meaning they will be allowed to turn themselves into the county jail for booking and immediate release instead of facing arrest and jail time.
According to the criminal complaint: A Hamline official met with St. Paul police in February regarding Garin’s alleged actions. Wells Fargo had alerted the school that several university checks were being deposited into Garin’s personal bank account. Garin, who had worked at the school since November 2011, was the university’s accounts payable supervisor.
Investigators found that Garin had cashed or issued 67 checks. She allegedly forged internal forms and created four fake vendors. She also allegedly signed the back of checks issued for actual vendors, deposited them into her two accounts and reissued checks to the vendors.
The university confronted Garin about the alleged thefts on Jan. 26, and she “broke down in tears” and confessed to the crimes, the charges said. Garin was fired.
Latimer allegedly told police that her mother asked her to cash checks written on the school’s account. Latimer allegedly admitted that she cashed at least 24 checks worth $73,285.98. She said she received a small portion of the money and gave most of it to her mother.
Hoyt allegedly told police that he had signed and cashed at least 15 checks totaling $34,331.25. Hoyt has a child with disabilities with one of Garin’s daughters.
Garin spoke with police on March 24 and allegedly admitted to creating the checks that Latimer and Hoyt cashed.