Former County Commissioner Gets 3.5 Yrs for Fraud

Linda Tuttle-Olson, who operated a real estate closing company, was sentenced to 42 months in prison for allegedly stealing nearly $1 million from clients' escrow accounts.

Linda Kae Tuttle-Olson, a former Freeborn County commissioner who operated a real estate closing company, was sentenced on Tuesday to three-and-a-half years in prison for stealing at least $920,000 from clients' escrow accounts, Minnesota's U.S. Attorney's office said.

Tuttle-Olson, a 60-year-old woman from Albert Lea, was the president of Freeborn County Abstract Company, also known as Albert Lea Abstract Company (ALAC), from 2003 to 2010. ALAC conducted real estate closings and received escrow funds from clients that were deposited into the company's bank accounts.

Tuttle-Olson admitted to transferring these funds into other company accounts, and then writing several checks to “cash” or herself from those accounts, according to the U.S. Attorney's office. In order to conceal the funds she had withdrawn, Tuttle-Olson allegedly sent checks from one bank to another in an effort to produce artificial balances.

Tuttle-Olson was charged for her crimes in January, and she pleaded guilty in April. In her plea, Tuttle-Olson admitted that from January through June last year, she stole at least $920,000 from the escrow accounts and used the money for personal gain. U.S. District Court Judge David S. Doty sentenced her on one count of wire fraud in connection to the crime.