Former Canton City Clerk moves to have record of theft, fraud expunged from public record; denied by court

(ABC 6 News) – A former Canton and Whalan city clerk convicted of misusing city funds appeared in Fillmore County Court Monday to argue that the record of her theft and fraud should be expunged.

Her request was denied.

Lolitta Melander, 56, was accused of 26 theft, embezzlement and misuse of funds charges during her 8 years as Canton City Clerk. She faced another 23 charges related to the City of Whalan, and pleaded to one charge of theft by swindle in the Canton case, as well as one charge of misusing public funds in the Whalan case.

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Court documents noted that if Melander repaid all of her restitution owed within 15 months of sentencing, she could be dismissed from probation early.

RELATED: Former Canton city clerk accused of embezzling more than $130,000 sentenced to jail, probation – ABC 6 News –

Melander was released from probation in March of 2023.

Melander, now of Rochester, filed to have all records of her Canton charges sealed in February of this year, stating “this has been really hard on my family but has made me a better person.”

Melander’s list of “steps toward personal rehabilitation,” filed in Fillmore County Court Feb. 2024

The Fillmore County Attorney’s Office argued against the expungement, citing the number and lengths of Melander’s crimes as Canton City Clerk; “shameless attempts to solicit donations” via a GoFundMe page that appears to have been deleted; and lack of effort to help the City of Canton rehabilitate its image or give back to the community.

“Ms. Melander is not better person because of this experience,” court documents read. “She does not articulate single way in which she gives back to our society and in this instance, it is not society at large that the Court should be considering when viewing whether Ms. Melander is rehabilitated. The Court should pay particular attention to how Ms. Melander has failed to take any restorative steps with the community she victimized. It is easy to hide away in community made up of your friends and
family, and an entirely different thing to face the people in community you have wronged. Personal rehabilitation is taking ownership of your actions, and Ms. Melander has not done that.”