DeKALB – Prosecutors say a Kingston woman used revenue from her DeKalb video gambling parlor to try to pay back more than $250,000 she’d embezzled while a general manager of a Wisconsin newspaper company.
Cynthia R. Jensen, 55, of the 29800 block of Thornton Drive, has been charged by authorities in Walworth County, Wisconsin, with seven counts of identity theft and two counts of theft, according to a criminal complaint filed in late September in Walworth County court.
Peter and John Cruger, brothers and co-owners of Delavan-based Southern Lakes Publishing LLC, publisher of Lake Geneva Times and other papers in southern Wisconsin counties, said Jensen has stolen more than $240,000. They also allege she owes Rock Valley Publishing LLC, publisher of newspapers in Belvidere and elsewhere in northern Illinois, more than $30,000. She was the general manager of the newspaper publishers before abandoning her post in March after the Crugers confronted her about missing funds in February, according to the complaint.
The complaint says Jensen opened CJ’s Gaming, 1406 Sycamore Road in DeKalb, in 2015, and that she made payments to the Crugers, appearing to be intended to pay back the money. The building is owned by JLAR Illinois LLC, 120 N. Annie Glidden Road, according to county property records.
“I’ve never stolen anything, and anyone who knows me knows that,” Jensen said Thursday.
She is due in Walworth County Court in Elkhorn on Oct. 17.
Prosecutors allege in the complaint that Jensen forged seven checks to herself or her husband from Nov. 21, 2017, to Jan. 26, 2018; she also arranged online payments from the newspaper companies to a personal bank account.
The Crugers met with Jensen in February, according to the complaint, and she admitted she’d made the transactions, but said she’d done nothing illegal and had paid back the companies.
Jensen didn’t show up for another scheduled meeting in March and left her key and other company property, as well as a note stating a file on her computer broke down how she owed the companies more than $115,000. She sent a check for a little less than $100,000, according to the complaint, with hopes the Crugers would sign a document showing the money was a loan.
John Cruger said he got the check but did not cash it because he’d never agreed to loan Cruger money – not to mention, as he and his brother claim, she still owes the businesses more than $250,000.
DeKalb’s community development director, Jo Ellen Charlton, said a situation such as this hasn’t come up in her almost two years on the job.
She said she’ll consult the city’s attorney, Dean Frieders, to determine whether criminal charges can warrant revocation of a business owner’s liquor or business license.
Charlton said after her conversation with Frieders, the matter will be brought up to DeKalb Mayor Jerry Smith.
Smith declined to comment before he’d spoken with Charlton and Frieders about the matter.