Local Toy Co. Owner Gets 5.5 Yrs. in $9M Fraud

Sandra Lee Calkins defrauded Stillwater-based Central Bank and 42 investors out of approximately $9 million by misrepresenting the financial situation of her Edina-based company, Princess Soft Toys.

The owner of a local toy company was sentenced Wednesday to five-and-a-half years in prison for defrauding a bank and 42 investors out of roughly $9 million, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Minnesota.

Sandra Lee Calkins, 67, was the owner of Edina-based Princess Soft Toys, Inc. She was charged on April 29 with one count of bank fraud and pleaded guilty on May 26.

In her plea agreement, Calkins admitted that between January 2008 and March 2010, she falsified financial statements about her company in order to renew a $3.25 million line of credit at Stillwater-based Central Bank, according to the attorney's office.

Calkins, who handled financial affairs for Princess Soft, admitted that she included on such statements inaccurate information relative to revenue and net assets.

Based on Calkins' falsified documents, Central Bank renewed the credit line, and Calkins ultimately drew $3.6 million from it. Central Bank suffered a loss of approximately $1.6 million.

In addition to defrauding Central Bank, Calkins also admitted in her plea agreement that she misrepresented Princess Soft's financial situation to investors-who collectively experienced losses in excess of $7 million, the attorney's office said.

According to Minnesota Public Radio, Princess Soft closed in 2010, and Connecticut-based toymaker Melissa & Doug bought the brand. Princess Soft's website now contains a message that reads, “Coming soon to the Melissa & Doug family.”