Former Lake Superior College official admits to double-billing
A former Lake Superior College financial chief admitted Tuesday to double-billing the school for travel reimbursements. Richard Edwin Halvorson, 56, appeared in St. Louis County District Court and admitted to receiving $659.30 in duplicate expens...
A former Lake Superior College financial chief admitted Tuesday to double-billing the school for travel reimbursements.
Richard Edwin Halvorson, 56, appeared in St. Louis County District Court and admitted to receiving $659.30 in duplicate expenses that he already had been reimbursed for. Halvorson was charged in November 2006 with felony theft, theft by swindle and misconduct of a public officer or employee.
Under Minnesota law, Halvorson is eligible for a pretrial diversion program because he has no prior convictions of a crime against a person. Judge Eric Hylden approved the program and ordered Halvorson to submit to the supervision of Arrowhead Regional Corrections for one year. If he follows the conditions set for him, the criminal charges will be dismissed after the year.
The pretrial diversion program provides an alternative to confinement and a criminal conviction, and reduces the burden on courts. It's also designed to minimize recidivism and to improve the collection of restitution.
Halvorson referred questions outside the courtroom Tuesday to his attorney, William Paul.
"Mr. Halvorson admitting to $659.30 in double reimbursement hardly justifies the felony charges that were originally brought against him, though you can't excuse him being reimbursed twice," Paul said. "Nevertheless, the publicity surrounding $659.30 is not justified under the facts of this case."
According to the criminal complaint, the Legislative Auditor's Office investigated Halvorson's financial activity at the college from July 1, 2002, through June 30, 2005, and determined that he inappropriately overcharged the school $14,666. The money came from the college's general fund.
Halvorson was vice president of finance and administration at the college when fired in November 2005. The school kept $12,425 of Halvorson's vacation pay to offset its alleged loss, according to the complaint.
Paul also represents Halvorson in a civil lawsuit against Lake Superior College in which he is seeking about $35,000 in severance pay and vacation pay that he said was withheld from his client. A trial in that case is scheduled for May 5.
Gary Kruchowski, director of public information and government affairs at Lake Superior College, said school officials were declining to comment on both cases Tuesday.