Fired Golden Valley licensing worker charged with theft

  • Article by: TASNIM SHAMMA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 22, 2011 - 9:19 PM

Her arrest in late March caused Golden Valley to shut down its drivers license and vehicle services office.

A former Golden Valley motor vehicle licensing employee was charged on Wednesday with pocketing vehicle fees and getting paid by a car dealer to falsify title and registration documents.

Courtney A. Olson, 35, was charged with three felonies, including theft by swindle, theft of public funds and failure to pay over state funds. She also was charged with two gross misdemeanor counts of misconduct of a public employee.

After Olson was arrested and fired in late March, Golden Valley shut down its drivers license and vehicle services office to allow an auditor to review polices and examine its books. The city plans to ask the state to reopen the office as soon as it meets recommendations for improved procedures.

A statement Wednesday on Golden Valley's website said the city was "very disappointed that it has been compromised by this incident." The city operates the office as one of 175 state-appointed deputy registrars in Minnesota.

According to the complaint, Olson admitted to police that she often stamped title applications "paid" and did not enter the transactions into a computer system.

When another employee raised questions and identified Olson's handwriting on forms that were fraudulently stamped, Olson's supervisor went to Golden Valley police.

Olson, who was hired in 2008 and was one of six clerks at the office, said she "needed the money."

She said that she had entered into an arrangement with a Spring Lake Park car dealer to receive $200 every week or two for stamping their state title applications and registrations so the dealer could obtain loans.

Olson also admitted to having "redone" some of the forms, including changing prices.

Tasnim Shamma • 612-673-7603

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