Former Canton city clerk accused of embezzling more than $130,000 sentenced to jail, probation

(ABC 6 News) – The former clerk and treasurer of Canton was sentenced to 120 days in Fillmore County Jail and 10 years of supervised probation, after embezzling more than $130,000 from the city.

Lolitta Marie Melander, 54, of Lanesboro, pleaded guilty to one count of theft by swindle. Twenty-five other criminal charges – detailing theft of property valuing anywhere from under $1,000 to over $35,000 – were dismissed.

RELATED: Former city clerk pleads guilty in two cases of misuing funds

Based on findings from the Office of the Minnesota State Auditor, Melander was accused of misappropriating funds totaling $134,639 between 2011 and 2019. She resigned as clerk/treasurer on March 11, 2019, immediately after the Fillmore County Sheriff’s office became involved into an investigation into possible misappropriation of funds.

Over the course of eight years, the Office of the State Auditor found checks written to Melander for non-business items such as medical bills, duplicate wage checks, and multiple payroll advances.

Melander will serve 120 days in jail and is eligible for work release. She will remain on probation for 10 years, must pay $69,916 in restitution, and perform 50 hours of community work service.

Melander received a stay of adjudication, which means the conviction will be removed from her record once she completes all parts of her sentence.