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St. Charles woman charged with aiding former Reichel Foods CFO in over $300,000 in unauthorized spending

Loretta Lynn Taylor, 54, and Thomas James Wiechmann, 56, are accused of making hundreds of thousand of unauthorized charges on Reichel Foods credit card accounts.

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ROCHESTER — A St. Charles woman has been charged in Olmsted County District Court in connection with the theft of hundreds of thousands in unauthorized charges made over nearly a decade from a former employer.

Loretta Lynn Taylor, 54, is charged with aiding and abetting Thomas James Wiechmann, 56, of Austin, with theft by swindle of their former employer, Reichel Foods, a Rochester-based company. The pair used their positions in the company to charge hundreds of thousands of dollars to company credit cards, according to court documents.

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Taylor, a former financial controller for the company, was in charge of overseeing and paying business expenses, a position she used to charge hundreds of personal charges to company credit cards amounting to around $150,000 in unauthorized charges between 2012 and 2019, according to law enforcement.

Wiechmann, the former chief financial officer for Reichel Foods, is accused of making more than $300,000 in unauthorized charges to a company credit card. In an amended complaint filed Wednesday, May 26, 2022, he is charged with one felony count of aiding and abetting theft by swindle. In a previously filed criminal complaint, he was facing four counts of theft by swindle. The Olmsted County Attorney's Office did not respond to a question about the discrepancy in charges.

The pair is also accused of using over $83,000 in credit card reward points for personal use.

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Taylor’s employment with the company ended July 2021 and Wiechmann was terminated from his position March 2021, according to court documents.

“Charging routine company expenses to personally issued company credit cards might have been an acceptable accounting practice, if the credit card bills were being paid every month, and the member reward points were being redeemed by Reichel Foods. The credit card bills were not being paid, however, and ultimately, on May 1, 2019, American Express canceled the accounts, leaving Reichel Foods with a significant debt,” reads a portion of the criminal complaint.

Taylor is scheduled to appear in court for the first time June 28.

Weichmann’s next court appearance is scheduled for June 14.

Mark Wasson has been a public safety reporter with Post Bulletin since May 2022. Previously, he worked as a general assignment reporter in the southwest metro and as a public safety reporter in Willmar, Minn. Readers can reach Mark at mwasson@postbulletin.com.
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