MINNEAPOLIS -- A southern Minnesota woman has been found guilty of embezzlement and tax fraud.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says 59-year-old Kimberly Peterson-Janovec of Kenyon was found guilty Tuesday of embezzling more than $700,000 from several Denny’s restaurants in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and a family-owned construction company in Rochester.

Court records show Peterson-Janovec worked as the Director of Operations for a franchisee that owned eight Denny’s locations from 2014 until 2019. During that time, she embezzled funds from the company by submitting false requests for vendor payments, using the payroll system to give herself unauthorized payments under the names of former employees, falsifying records, creating fake email accounts, and generating fake email chains.

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Records show she stole around $356,000 before being let go from the company. According to court documents, in 2020 Peterson-Janovec lied about her previous work experience in order to secure a bookkeeping position at the construction company. Records show she was promoted to General Manager, and in about 18 months, used similar tactics to steal $350,000 from that company.

Court documents show the more than $700,000 embezzled money funded her lifestyle, hobbies, and a down payment on her home, and resulted in over $160,000 in unpaid taxes.

Peterson-Janovec was found guilty on 24 counts including 13 counts of wire fraud, two counts of mail fraud, three counts of aggravated identity theft, three counts of making and subscribing a false tax return, and three counts of failure to file individual tax returns. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled for a later date.

Records show she also has a previous federal fraud conviction from 1998 for embezzling over $950,000 from another former employer.

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