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Minnesota businessman pleads guilty to swindling collection agency clients

HASTINGS, Minn. -- Four years after the state shut down his collection agency and nearly two years after he was formally charged with stealing money from his clients, Rosemount resident Scott Schoaf has pleaded guilty to charges of theft and theft by swindle.

According to the Dakota County Attorney’s Office, Schoaf, 50, failed to pay out more than $72,000 he collected through his business, Alternative Receivables Solutions Inc., between June 2009 and March 2010. He used the money for personal expenses, including lawn care and vehicle payments.

Schoaf would collect money owed to his clients and put it into a trust. At the end of the month, he would make payments from that trust, keeping a commission for himself. But a police investigation showed Schoaf had transferred trust money to an account used to pay rent, postage, payroll, taxes, multiple credit cards and loans. At least 128 clients were owed money.

Judge Shawn Moynihan sentenced Schoaf to 30 days of sentence to serve, probation for up to 20 years and restitution that has not yet been determined. He will serve an additional 25 days of sentence to serve each year until the restitution is fully paid. He is also prohibited from volunteering or being employed in any position that requires handling of money.

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