Rochester tax preparer appears on theft charges, accused of embezzling during time as CFO

(ABC 6 News) – A Rochester tax specialist appeared in Olmsted County Court Wednesday on three charges of theft, after allegedly embezzling more than $100,000 from an Oronoco business.

Blake Allyn Schaefer, 44, faces three charges of felony theft.

In November of 2022, Olmsted County deputies responded to a report of employee theft in Oronoco Township.

A company owner allegedly wanted to report Schaefer, the company’s Chief Financial Officer, for embezzling more than $150,000 between 2017 and 2022.

According to court documents, the company had hired a CPA firm to take over payroll and finances, which had detected fraudulent activity starting in 2017, and continuing until the company fired Schaefer in November of 2022.

Schaefer was listed as the Chief Financial Officer for Ryan Windows and Siding, an Oronoco installation company, on LinkedIn.

He is currently a tax preparer at Midwest Accountability, a Rochester-area business.

According to court documents, deputies listened to a recorded phone call between the company owner and Schaefer, in which “Schaefer admitted to doing the thefts for ‘basically a year.'”

“Schaefer also stated the amount was about ‘forty grand.’ Schaefer would put down ‘extra hours,'” court documents read. “When asked if he would just add on hours, Schaefer stated ‘Yeah.'”

In April of 2023, an investigator allegedly interviewed Schaefer, who said he’d worked for the company for about 10 years.

According to court documents, Schaefer allegedly said he “got money tight” and began padding his paycheck with extra hours, which continued for “two, maybe three” years.

He estimated the embezzlement at about $60,000 in the interview, according to court documents.

According to court documents, an accounting service looked at a period of about 15 months between Aug. 31, 2021, and Nov. 23, 2022.

The accounting company allegedly determined that between those two dates, Schaefer had paid $99,575.78 in excess wages to himself.