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Miranda Gustafson

Kennedy woman sentenced for stealing from employer, friend faces more theft charges

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region Park Rapids, 56470
Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

Leanne Truedson said she felt betrayed and shocked after she learned that her "good friend" Miranda Sue Gustafson allegedly stole more than $55,000 from the Truedson family and its business in Kennedy, Minn.

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Gustafson, 33, of Kennedy, was sentenced Tuesday for the portion of that theft that happened in Grand Forks County.

She won't do jail time, but must pay $13,449.69 in restitution for using the Todd's Electric company credit card to purchase items at stores in Grand Forks, such as Wal-Mart, Home of Economy and Target.

Truedson, 35, said she and her husband Todd Truedson, 39, weren't wishing jail time on Gustafson.

"We were OK with that," she said. "We just wanted to see that she made restitution. She's made comments that she wants to pay us back but, at this point, we haven't received a dime, so that makes us question her motivation."

Truedson said she and Gustafson had been friends for 15 years, and the Truedsons brought Gustafson and her husband from Grand Forks to work at Todd's Electric in 2009.

Gustafson was charged in Grand Forks County in July.

Todd Truedson, who is also Kennedy's mayor, opened Todd's Electric in 2003. The company is one of the largest employers in the town of fewer than 200, Leanne Truedson said.

'Devastating'

Police said that, on some of the shopping trips in Grand Forks, Truedson and Gustafson would go together, with Gustafson checking out in a separate lane to hide the illicit use of the company card.

The theft in Grand Forks is just the tip of the iceberg though, as Gustafson is alleged to have stolen another $44,000 and is facing nine theft charges in Kittson County, according to Truedson.

Among the thefts in Kittson County are charges of using Todd Truedson's personal credit card and stealing more than $5,000 cash in $200 increments from the Truedson house.

Gustafson is also alleged to have stolen around $800 form the Truedsons in Pembina County, according to Pembina County sheriff's deputies. She was arrested after her appearance in Grand Forks County District Court Tuesday.

Leanne Truedson said Gustafson destroyed a number of receipts and financial documents, making the exact amount that she stole difficult to ascertain.

"We're not asking for any more or any less than what is due to us," she said. "We'll stake our reputation on the fact we're honest, hardworking, kind people. We just want to see justice served."

The thefts have put a strain on Todd's Electric, she said, and she had to quit her job to go to work there.

"We're trying to rebuild our reputation and our credit at this point," she said. "It's devastating for a small business."

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