An Apple Valley man has been ordered to pay back almost $100,000 in funds he swindled from his teenage stepdaughter, who had inherited a large sum of money from her biological father.
Matthew Neil Larson, 40, will pay $94,415.19 to the victim. If he fails to pay the mammoth amount, he will face an array of penalties. The state is empowered to issue a warrant for his arrest, suspend his driver's license, garnish his wages or sieze his property.
The case against Larson broke May 10, 2010, after he and his stepdaughter got into an argument over a cardboard box. The victim went to the police to report Larson for a minor assault after he grabbed her sweatshirt and yelled at her. Before the interview at police headquarters was over, she had also disclosed that he had transferred thousands out of a savings account dedicated to money she had inherited after her biological father's death.
The victim first became aware of irregularities in 2009, when she abuptly stopped receiving paper statements in the mail. When she contacted the bank, she learned that the statements were not being sent online either. Three days before the fateful altercation with Larson, she learned that he had been accessing her account and transferring money without her knowledge or permission. She told police that she had a hard time determining exactly which minor transactions were hers and which may have been Larson's. It was clear, however, that thousands of dollars had been transferred out beginning in November of 2008.
When questioned, Larson admitted to taking $50,000 to $60,000 out of the various accounts belonging to the victim. He claimed that much of the money was given directly to her, however.
Larson was charged with three counts of theft by swindle, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in jail and $20,000 in fines.
He pleaded guilty Nov. 5, 2012. In exchange, the state dismissed two of three charges against him. On Jan. 16, 2013, Judge Richard Spicer sentenced Larson to 150 days in the Dakota County jail, a $50 fine, and 20 years of supervised probation, which may be discharged early if restitution is paid in full.
He has paid $865 so far.
Larson was further ordered to have no contact with victim, and he is restricted from acting in a fiduciary role unless appointed to the task by his employer. If he successfully completes probation, the court will reduce the charge from a felony to a misdemeanor.
He remains in custody at the county jail. His anticipated release date is May 22.