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Woman shot in Boyceville was suspected of theft and fraud

By Kelsie Hoitomt

MENOMONIE — On November 14, Shonda E. Mikelson was shot and killed in her Boyceville home after pulling out a replica gun against a Boyceville Police Officer.

Public records filed by the Menomonie Police Department over the past four months reveal that Mikelson had been terminated from her job as Office Manager at DKS Construction, Inc. due to being suspected of theft and fraud.

 Dale Schmitz, 67 of Menomonie and owner of DKS Construction, Inc. had originally filed a complaint to the Menomonie Police Department on July 28, 2014, which alleged that former employee (Mikelson) had fraudulently used his credit cards.

Schmitz spoke with an officer again on August 1 and reported that Mikelson had forged one of his DKS business checks.

The check was to be transferred into an account with the name Timothy Fern on it, who was Mikelson’s boyfriend.

On August 27, Schmitz went to the Menomonie Police Department to provide an official statement about Mikelson.

Schmitz said that his previous Office Manager, Pamela Cance informed him she was leaving her position. Following that, the job was posted in early December of 2013, which brought Mikelson to the scene.

On December 16, 2013 Mikelson was hired and apparently only trained for a week due to her similar job experience at Downing Tractor.

The job description listed several financial responsibilities, which included completing payroll by either making sure the employee’s paycheck was being sent to a direct deposit bank account, or physically issuing a paper payroll check.

It was stated that Schmitz did not sign payroll checks. Mikelson was in possession of Schmitz’s name stamp and had permission to use his name stamp when issuing payroll or other business related checks.

Shortly after her hiring, Stacey Schmitz, Dale’s daughter-in-law stated in her written statement given on October 16, that Dale and Shonda became inseparable and that he seemed to trust her sooner than he should have.

Schmitz’s trust in Mikelson allowed her to have access to all of DKS’s business accounts. With that knowledge, Mikelson was able to authorize herself as a credit card user through the online log in.

The police report stated that an investigator contacted the credit card companies and confirmation was given about the authorization.

Schmitz stated that he had not added Mikelson himself as an authorized user, but she had all the needed information, including his social security number.

Mikelson had registered several of Schmitz’s credit card accounts online. Schmitz never saw the online registration pages and did not have access to the online accounts despite being the primary card holder.

Mikelson had the passwords for all the accounts and had created the security questions for each account, which made it so Schmitz did not have access to log into the online accounts.

With that authorization, Mikelson had unlimited access to those credit cards, which she took  full advantage of.

The police report shows 54 pages of credit card transactions made from December 2013 through June of 2014, which accounted for over $100,000 being spent.

The credit cards linked to Schmitz’s name were used at places like Walmart, Target, Dunhams, Famous Dave’s, the Mall of America, Johnson Motors, various jewelry stores, gas stations and there were dozens of purchases on Amazon.

The charge at Johnson Motors was for a tonneau cover and bed rails for a 2010 Chevrolet pickup truck, which is the same kind of truck Fern drives.

It was Johnson Motor’s General Manager, Mark Schmitz (Dale’s son), who noticed the charge was paid with a DKS credit card, which had Mikelson’s name on it but was under a DKS Construction account.

Mikelson was contacted by Mark about the purchase and she claimed that she had accidentally used Schmitz’s business card and would return at a later date to fix the error.

This was in June and Mikelson never returned to correct the error.

Along with making illegal purchases, Mikelson had also paid herself unauthorized overtime. According to Schmitz, Mikelson had overpaid herself $7,416 from December 15, 2013 until June 21, 2014.

This was discovered after Schmitz became concerned with the DKS Construction finances after several of his credit cards had been declined at several locations in the city of Menomonie.

So on June 22, Schmitz requested that his computer consultant, Ken Henning, run a report on accounts payable, accounts receivable and a payroll record from January 1, 2014 to June 21, 2014, which showed the unauthorized overtime.

The week prior to her termination, Mikelson did not give herself overtime pay, but instead she increased her hourly pay from $14 to $23, which was directly deposited into an account at Peoples State Bank.

Further overtime pay was not documented due to Mikelson’s termination on June 28.

However, Schmitz stated that she had made unauthorized personal charges to his business credit cards following her firing.

After terminating Mikelson, Schmitz also discovered that she had transferred $20,000 from a DKS savings account to a DKS checking account.

Schmitz indicated that Mikelson had been aware of the existence of the savings account and had been told she was never to remove money from it.

In Mikelson’s statement given to the Police Department on October 14, 2014, she stated that she did not understand why Schmitz was upset and why she was fired because he told her to transfer the money in order to pay bills.

Mikelson felt the real reason she was fired was because Schmitz had begun a relationship with another woman. She told others that she thought Schmitz was becoming forgetful as well.

In terms of the credit card use, Mikelson stated that she thought she only made several large purchases on the business credit cards for maintenance things that Schmitz needed.

Schmitz also owns rental properties as well as a custom wood working business.

Mikelson said that her and Schmitz also went shopping together on various occasions and he allowed her to put personal items on his cards.

She admitted to making other personal purchases, but she only did so because Schmitz told her to.

Online orders were also made because Schmitz asked her to because he wasn’t up to date on technology.

When asked about her relationship to Schmitz, Mikelson stated that they had a very close relationship and they basically spent all ten hours at work with each other, which included having lunch together daily.

She said their relationship was unusual. She alleged that Schmitz asked her out on dates all the time, he hugged her and kissed her cheek and even grabbed her buttocks.

She said that Schmitz personally knew her children and always was willing to help her and them out.

This included buying them toys and allegedly allowing their cell phones to be under the business’s account.

Schmitz in one instance had helped out Mikelson by loaning her money to purchase a snowmobile. Schmitz never received payment for this even though Mikelson stated she wrote him a check.

While all of this was happening and packages were being delivered daily to the house in Boyceville, Fern denied knowing anything.

He stated that Mikelson told him she was receiving bonuses at work, which helped pay all the bills, loans Fern had and all the toys, tools, clothes, etc. that were purchased.

Fern stated that he saw Mikelson online, but was never present when she ordered anything so he did not see how she purchased items.

Fern said that he was unaware of anything going on until a Boyceville Police Officer came to their home to speak to Mikelson about a stolen credit card, which was following her termination.

Mikelson had told Fern that after she was terminated, the card belonging to Schmitz was thrown away.

When Fern questioned her as to why she threw the card away instead of returning it to Schmitz, Mikelson had no explanation.

After Mikelson was fired, she called Fern crying and stated that she was terminated because Schmitz had found one or two checks in a file or behind her desk that had not been deposited.

She also told Fern that she thought Schmitz’s new girlfriend was jealous of her.

Fern’s statement ended with him letting the investigator know that Mikelson had a brain tumor and was currently taking five to six medications to treat it.

Fern said he had limited information regarding the tumor, but said she was diagnosed while pregnant and had since refused any chemotherapy; Mikelson had given birth in May.

Mikelson had told Fern that the purpose of the medications was to shrink the tumor enough so the doctor could pull it out through her nose.

Fern thought that Mikelson was likely not taking her medications anymore because she had begun consuming large quantities of alcohol.

On November 21, the District Attorney’s Office returned the recommendation with a decision that no charges be filed against Mikelson, due to her death, or Fern, due to inability to prove his involvement.

Due to Mikelson’s death, no further police action can or will be taken in this case.

Schmitz has since been left to pay the credit card charges (over $100,000) due the authorization that was “given” after Mikelson allegedly gave herself access through the online account.

Schmitz stated that he attempted to file fraud charges with his credit card companies.

The charges were in fact initially reversed, but then later added back because Mikelson was an authorized user, which in turn prohibited Schmitz from filing fraud.