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Willmar woman enters plea in fraudulent ink return case

WILLMAR -- Kelly Marie Lipinski, 41, of Willmar, pleaded guilty Friday to two felony theft charges for making almost $5,800 in false ink cartridge returns at a local office supply store.

Under a plea agreement reached in Kandiyohi County District Court, another felony theft charge will be dismissed. She will be sentenced April 26.

The charges were filed in September after Office Max loss prevention personnel contacted Willmar Police and reported there were an unusually high number of returns of cash refunds at the local store and recorded as made by Lipinski.

The majority of the sales were for ink cartridges, which typically were not re-inventoried because they are usually opened when returned. Office Max officials had tracked down a customer who had purportedly made a return, logged by Lipinski.

The person denied making the return.

The officials had already interviewed Lipinski, who admitted to making the false returns, then taking cash refunds at the end of her shift.

She reported the theft was of $3,682.04 on 44 returns this year, and about $4,800 last year. She had provided a written admission to store officials.

Lipinski was interviewed by police and explained she had looked up the electronic receipts in the store's computer, picked cash transactions, entered a refund and then took the cash at the end of her shift.

The total theft was for $5,776.67 from July 2008 to August 2009.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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