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Woman sentenced to probation, fine in fraudulent ink return case

WILLMAR -- Kelly Marie Lipinski, 41, of Willmar, was sentenced Monday to five years of probation and ordered to pay $1,000 in fines on two felony theft charges for making false ink cartridge re-turns at a local office supply store and pocketing the money.

According to court records, Lipinski already paid $5,776.67 in restitution on April 13. As part of her sentence handed down in Kandiyohi County District Court, she was ordered to attend a victim impact panel and a property crime impact panel, ordered to write a letter of apology and ordered not to enter Office Max in Willmar.

As part of a plea agreement, another felony theft charge was dismissed. Lipinski received a stay of imposition on her sentence, under which the felony convictions could be reduced to misdemeanors if she complies with the terms of her sentence.

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 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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