WORTHINGTON – Two years after being charged with 11 felony counts of theft from her employer, Charlene Jane Long, age 60, of Sioux Falls, SD, has pleaded guilty to paying herself commission she was not entitled to as a bookkeeper at Radio Works in Worthington.
In a plea agreement made August 14 via a zoom meeting, Long admitted that she paid herself commission with no permission or consent from her employer for her own personal benefit.
While the count she admitted to was generalized into an amount exceeding $5,000, the criminal complaint alleges Long paid herself over $186,000 she was not entitled to over a 6-year period. The misappropriations were discovered when her duties changed and the bookkeeping was moved to an outside accounting firm.
Per the plea agreement, all of the other counts against Long will be dismissed. She will serve 10 years of probation, and restitution will be decided by the courts after a pre-sentence investigation.
During her time in Nobles County, Long and her husband were the subject of several court cases regarding monetary judgments against them. The two divorced in 2017, but after being fired for theft from Radio Works, Long used several excuses to draw out the court case, including what she reported to the courts as the death of her husband.
This is not Long’s first accusation of wrongdoing involving her place of employment. In 1995, Long was charged in the state of California over multiple counts of wire fraud and filing false tax returns and ordered to pay restitution of over $900,000. Long and another employee of a television show based in California were accused of embezzling almost $1 million by submitting false expense reports, according to a news article written in 1995.
Long, who went under her maiden name of Prins at the time, was the business manager and comptroller of the show PM Magazine. She and her assistant were indicted by a grand jury. She pleaded guilty to one count each of wire fraud and subscribing to a false tax return and was sentenced to three years of probation and paying restitution. According to court documents from California, she paid less than $33,000 of the restitution over ten years before the statute of limitations ran out.
Long agreed to the plea in Nobles County District Court less than two weeks before she was scheduled to go on trial. After a pre-sentence investigation, she will be sentenced October 12.