Forest Lake couple face 35 charges in $1.2 million theft

  • Updated: June 28, 2010 - 9:51 PM

In what might be the largest theft case in Washington County history, a Forest Lake couple face 35 charges alleging $1.2 million was diverted from property sales through the couple's mortgage closing company.

Cynthia T. Strand, 53, and her husband, Steven A. Strand 52, appeared before Washington County District Judge Gary Schurrer on Monday, where bail was set at $200,000 for Cynthia Strand and $50,000 for her husband.

In four different complaints listing 34 separate racketeering, theft and forgery charges, Cynthia Strand is accused of stealing more than $1.2 million in 11 different transactions while running Strand Closing Service in Forest Lake.

Instead of paying out the funds as she was supposed to, the charges say, she diverted the money to her own accounts.

According to the complaint, the city of Forest Lake lost nearly $205,000 in two transactions. Another victim lost $594,000.

Steven Strand faces a single charge of aiding and abetting his wife.

"This is the largest theft case that this office has had since I came into office in 1999," said Doug Johnson, Washington County attorney. "The investigators from the insurance fraud and civil divisions of the Minnesota Department of Commerce did a great job of putting this complicated case together."

JIM ANDERSON

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