The St. Louis County Attorney's office has filed a theft complaint against a firm that provides bookkeeping and payroll services on contract for the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce.
 
Chamber President David Ross revealed the development in a Tuesday afternoon news release that did not identify the service provider. He said discrepancies were discovered in an annual review of financial operations conducted by an independent accounting firm.
 
According to KBJR TV, former Eagle Accounting principal Jesse Frye was charged with theft by swindle in the amount of $235,000.
 
"The Chamber’s 2018 Financial Review, completed in early 2019, identified discrepancies in the bookkeeping and payroll records completed by the Chamber’s bookkeeping and payroll contract service provider," Ross said. "Upon being informed of these discrepancies, the Chamber’s leadership immediately notified the Duluth Police Department (DPD). A comprehensive investigation of applicable financial operations was subsequently completed by the DPD Financial Crimes Unit."
 
Those findings were submitted to the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office, which filed the Chamber’s allegation of theft against the contract service provider.
 
The Chamber discontinued its contract service provider’s access to Chamber operations, Ross said, and the Chamber remains a financially stable organization.
 
Staff members were not involved in the alleged crime, according to the chamber.
 
"The Chamber’s leadership is cooperating to the fullest extent and seeks to ensure the defendant is dealt with according to the law," Ross said.
 
Until legal action is concluded, the Chamber said, it will not comment on the matter. 
 
"The Chamber’s leadership will continue to do everything in our power to assist the Duluth Police Department, and the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office, to ensure the defendant in this case is dealt with according to the law," Ross said.