A Twin Cities man who briefly pitched in the Twins organization and had two short stints as a Major Leaguer has pleaded guilty after being accused of cheating a post-baseball employer out of roughly $250,000 while working as an accountant.
Benjamin J. Hendrickson, 38, of Excelsior, pleaded guilty in Anoka County District Court last week to two counts of theft by swindle, which cover more than $145,000 of the overall total. Two other counts were dismissed.
The plea agreement calls for Hendrickson to serve a 90-day sentence. Formal sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 26.
According to the criminal complaint: While with Floors Northwest in Fridley, where Hendrickson worked for several years until he left his job in 2017, he would alter the amount of cash received to make it look like less was collected from sales staff. Hendrickson deposited the lesser amount and kept the rest. Nearly $160,000 of the money he stole was taken in the final two years of his employment.
He also allegedly shifted $10,000 of the company's money to a personal health care account that paid his medical bills.
Hendrickson admitted to police that he stole from the company but said he thought the total was between $50,000 and $75,000. He said he took the money "to help pay bills as he was working paycheck to paycheck and not getting ahead."
Hendrickson's progression to the big leagues started at Bloomington Jefferson High School before he was drafted in 1999 by the Milwaukee Brewers. In two seasons with the Brewers, 2004 and 2006, he started in 12 of his 14 appearances. He finished with a record of 1 win and 10 losses, and a 7.41 earned run average.
He then bounced around in the minors until the Twins released him in June 2009 after pitching six games for Class AAA Rochester.