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Duluth accountant pleads not guilty in theft cases

Jesse Frye waived any pretrial challenges to the charges at a hearing Tuesday.

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A Duluth accountant formally pleaded not guilty Tuesday to two felony theft charges totaling more than $350,000.

In entering the pleas, Jesse David Frye waived any challenges to probable cause or constitutional issues in cases involving the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce and a yet-undisclosed area business.

An April 13 settlement conference was scheduled before 6th Judicial District Judge Dale Harris. At that point, the parties may notify the court of any plea agreement that has been negotiated or request a trial date.

Authorities said more than $235,000 was discovered missing from the Chamber during a routine financial review conducted last July. Chamber officials contacted the Duluth Police Department, which found that Frye allegedly had been withdrawing funds and depositing them into his own accounts, often disguised with the label "payroll," over a two-year period.

The second case came to light in late December when a business owner reported that he had been contacted by Frye's brother, also an accountant, who informed him of $122,000 missing from his business , according to court documents.

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Investigators said they have been able to trace the money, in some instances, to "dollar-for-dollar purchases" of expensive items such as a car and a new roof on a residence.

Prosecutors said the thefts were known to be ongoing as of late December when Frye was first charged. Additional charges could still be forthcoming as investigations continue.

Frye, 39, owned Eagle Accounting in downtown Duluth. He has been free on bond since January.

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Jesse David Frye

Related Topics: CRIME AND COURTS
Tom Olsen has covered crime and courts for the Duluth News Tribune since 2013. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth and a lifelong resident of the city. Readers can contact Olsen at 218-723-5333 or tolsen@duluthnews.com.
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