Fmr. County Commissioner Faces 20 Yrs. For Fraud

Linda Kae Tuttle-Olson allegedly took funds from escrow accounts for personal use.

Linda Kae Tuttle-Olson, a former Freeborn County Commissioner who operated a real estate closing company, was charged Monday with one count of wire fraud for allegedly taking funds from escrow accounts for personal use.

According to court documents, which were filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, Tuttle-Olson stole about $1 million from January 2010 to June 2010 while operating Freeborn County Abstract Company, which conducted real estate closings.

Tuttle-Olson, 60, received fiduciary and escrow funds from clients that were deposited into the company's bank accounts. She then allegedly transferred funds from those accounts into other company accounts, after writing several checks to “cash” or herself from those accounts.

In order to cover the funds Tuttle-Olson had withdrawn, prosecutors allege that she sent checks from one bank to another in an effort to produce artificial balances.

Last year, Tuttle-Olson was charged with theft by swindle and racketeering in Freeborn County District Court. Her attorney, Kevin O'Connor Green, said Wednesday that a plea agreement is being worked out to dismiss the charges filed last year.

Tuttle-Olson faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the wire fraud charge.