A 36-year-old employee of the at the Albertville Premium Outlets is facing charges of felony theft after an investigation revealed he allegedly took thousands of dollars from the store using frequent, fraudulent transactions.
Shawn Michael Gohmann, St. Michael, who turned 36 last week, allegedly used fraudulent returns on cash sales, forging customers’ signatures, to steal anywhere from $40 to $300 per day.
Wright County officers worked with Skechers Corporate Headquarters and a loss prevention team to investigate the employee’s behavior, starting in June of 2011. Charges were filed Aug. 16 in Wright County District Court.
According to the criminal complaint:
Detectives from the Wright County Sheriff’s Office received a report of employee embezzlement at the Skechers Store in Albertville back in June. Detectives worked with Tony Harms, a loss prevention investigator from Skechers’ Corporate Office, who stated they had seen a number of unusual transactions, dating back to 2008.
Reviewing receipts and store reports, a number of shoes were being returned, without a corresponding increase in store inventory.
The investigation revealed one store manager in particular, Gohmann, made an unusually large amount of cash returns. Many of these returns did not have the original receipt attached (as is store policy), and often the customer information did not match the original purchaser.
Harms worked with Wright County to have covert, video surveillance installed at the store. As a result, investigators witnessed Gohmann making the fraudulent returns with no customers in the store, and pocketing the cash.
Harms conducted an interview with Gohmann, who admitted to making the transactions and pocketing as much as $300 per day. Gohmann reviewed reports with Harms and admitted he was responsible for the total loss of $43,833.45, outlined in the reports. He admitted the thefts occurred from October 2008 through June 2011.
Felony theft of items valued more than $35,000 carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in jail and $100,000 in fines, or both, in Minnesota.