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Fargo woman charged with stealing from company that raises funds for nonprofits

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By Emily Welker / The Forum

FARGO – Giving Point’s mission for the past five years has been to help area nonprofits raise cash for worthy causes, but court documents show that one of its employees has been raising cash primarily for herself by allegedly stealing more than $140,000 of Giving Point’s money.

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Sheila Horner, 47, of Fargo, was charged Monday in Cass County District Court with one count of forgery and one of theft, both Class B felonies, for forging $110,350 in checks from Giving Point, and for unauthorized charges on the company’s credit cards for another $33,424. It occurred sometime between July 1, 2011, and March 1, 2013.

Giving Point Director Shannon Schweigert said Horner was hired in January 2011 and left the company in late February 2013. He said the company has handled fundraising for an estimated 60 local nonprofits since he established it in 2007.

According to charging documents:

• Schweigert reported to Fargo police on March 4 that between July 2011 and February 2013, $270,000 in checks were written on the company’s Union State Bank checking account. He also said there were $209,280 in deposits on the same account, putting it in the red by $60,895.

• Fargo police Detective Jason Skalicky talked with Lori Sharon Dekeyser, Union State Bank’s senior vice president, and found that the total negative balance for Giving Point’s account was actually $48,300 after a $4,000 cash deposit from a credit card was discovered along with $8,600 worth of checks returned for insufficient funds. Schweigert reported a total of $108,950 in forged checks, including a $500 check to Brady Horner, Sheila Horner’s son.

• Schweigert also reported a Union State Bank credit card, which was never closed by Horner, with cash advances on it of $30,530 and an American Express card opened by Horner without his consent.

• Horner admitted in a police interview that she had been writing checks to herself and her son from the Giving Point bank account. She admitted keeping the Union State bank credit card open to use it for cash advances, gambling and to use it to put cash deposits back into the company’s checking account. She also admitted using the American Express account.

“It’s disappointing, but we are still in operation,” said Schweigert of the criminal case.

“We’re going to be OK. It’ll take some time, but we’ll be back where we were,” he said.

Schweigert said the forgeries appeared to have only affected internal operations of Giving Point, and that none of the fundraising for its nonprofit client companies were affected.

A phone number listed for Horner was disconnected.

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