Witnesses: Woman stole $ 200,000 and ruined Ossineke’s business | News, sports, jobs

Witnesses: Woman stole $ 200,000 and ruined Ossineke’s business |  News, sports, jobs

Annette and Rick Carstens owned Ossineke Building Supply, where Rick’s brother, Marty, and his wife, Gena, were employed. On Tuesday, Alpena County Prosecutor Cynthia Muszynski questioned both an expert in fraud investigation and Carstens’ sister-in-law, Annette Carstens. In 2018, six years after Rick Carstens was incapacitated by a stroke, he and his wife were forced to sell the business when it couldn’t stay financially solvent, his wife told the court.

Carstens denies the charges. In Tuesday’s preliminary examination, witnesses said Carstens was in control of the store’s money when the $200,000 went missing — a loss the store’s former owner said forced the sale of the family business.

The exam will continue this afternoon, when Judge Thomas LaCross may decide whether the prosecution has offered evidence convincing enough to allow the case to continue to trial. Gena Carstens, 58, is charged with embezzlement after a police investigation implicated her in the theft of bank deposit and cash register money while she was bookkeeper at Ossineke Building Supply in Ossineke.

By 2018, the missing money totaled more than $150,000 in deposits never made and $52,000 taken from the cash drawer, according to Scott. When confronted with the discrepancies by her sister-in-law after the business closed, Gena Carstens denied taking money from the business. Beginning in 2013, the year after Rick Carstens’ stroke, money also began to go missing from the store’s cash register drawer with no supporting paperwork to explain its absence, Scott said.

The company’s sales receipts and bank statements show an increasing amount of money recorded in cash sales but not deposited in the bank since Gena Carstens became bookkeeper in 2010, according to testimony by Cynthia Scott, a certified public accountant who investigated the business’s financial records for fraud. Although she was suspicious about the company’s decreasing bank account balance, she didn’t learn hundreds of thousands of dollars had gone missing until after the sale, Annette Carstens testified.

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