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Paynesville Press - March 5, 2003

Ex-company president sentenced

By Michael Jacobson

Steven Lind, the former president of Quality Checked Plastics, Inc., of Paynesville, was sentenced last week in United States District Court for embezzling funds from his employees' pension plan.

Lind was sentenced to serve 33 months in prison and to serve three years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay $415,783.72 in restitution and $98,873 in a personal money judgment.

Lind, 55, now living in Ohio, began working at Quality Checked Plastics, a plastic recycling business in Paynesville, in 1991 and was later promoted to president. In 1998, he established an employee pension plan and named himself as the trustee for the plan.

During his plea hearing in November 2002, Lind pled guilty to one count of embezzlement and theft from an employee pension plan and one count of mail fraud. He admitted that between January 1998 and February 2000 he embezzled approximately $15,420.12 from the pension plan.

Lind also admitted that from 1994 to February 2000 he devised a scheme to obtain over $200,000 in money and property belonging to Quality Checked Plastics and its employees. During the scheme, Lind purchased items and services for his own benefit using corporate credit cards provided by Quality Checked, paid himself a salary in excess of that approved by the board of directors, and wrote checks payable to himself from the company's bank accounts.

During the scheme, Lind also did not pay taxes owed by Quality Checked Plastics to the IRS or pay employee contributions to the pension plan. Rather, Lind diverted the money and funds to his own use.

The case is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Stearns County Sheriff's Department.

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