Wabasha woman pleads guilty to embezzlement, pledges to repay $3.75M

(ABC 6 News) – A Wabasha woman pleaded guilty to the theft of nearly $4 million from her former employer.

According to a plea agreement filed Tuesday, April 9, Sharon Schmalzriedt pleaded guilty to a charge of theft–firearm or property value over $35,000 and agreed to pay $3,751,337.06 in restitution to National Chemical in Lewiston, in exchange for a five-year probation sentence and no jail time.

Schmalzriedt, 61, was originally charged with theft and financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult, after allegedly embezzling the $3.75 million during her bookkeeping work between October of 2019 and March of 2023.

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Schmalzriedt allegedly fell for a romance scam and diverted the money, as well as an additional $17,150 meant for a vulnerable adult’s nursing home payments, to a scammer claiming to need $7 million to acquire his own money from Dubai.

According to Schmalzriedt’s plea agreement, if she does not meet the conditions of her release, she could be re-sentenced to 21 months in prison.

Schmalzriedt’s plea deal also stated that she will complete 1,000 hours of community service.

Her sentencing is scheduled for June 5.