Jensen ordered to pay $274,000, serve probation

Cynthia R. Jensen, 56, of Kingston, Illinois, pleaded guilty to a felony theft charge in Walworth County Circuit Court on Jan. 10.

The former general manager of Southern Lakes Newspapers and Southern Lakes Publishing, Delavan, made a $250,000 restitution payment at the court hearing and pleaded guilty to a class H felony charge that carries a maximum penalty of six years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Cynthia Jensen

In a courtroom on Jan. 10, Jensen pleaded guilty to the class H felony theft charge and her attorney made a $250,000 restitution payment on her behalf.

Circuit Court Judge Phillip Koss sentenced Jensen to make an additional $24,575.58 in restitution payments within six months and serve two years of probation on the class H felony under a plea agreement.

Several other charges she faced were dismissed, but read into the record.

Jensen was charged Sept. 25, 2018, with seven counts of identity theft for financial gain and two counts of theft in a business setting of more than $10,000, all as a party to a crime.

According to the criminal complaint, Jensen, an Illinois licensed CPA and former general manager of Southern Lakes Newspapers, Southern Lakes Publishing and Rock Valley Publishing, made unauthorized transactions from the company to herself and her husband between May 2015 and early 2018.

Company records show that Jensen transferred $871,560 in company funds into her personal accounts from May 11, 2015, until Feb. 9, 2018, without authorization.

Jensen opened a slot machine video gaming business called CJ’s Gaming in DeKalb, Illinois, close to the same time the theft started.

While employed as general manager and business manager for the publishing firm, Jensen made unauthorized ACH transfers from the company into her personal accounts and issued checks to herself and her husband without authorization by forging a signature of a company owner, according to the criminal complaint. Jensen transferred funds to her personal account and made payments back to the company from CJ’s Gaming in an attempt to pay back the stolen funds.

In January of 2018, managers at Town Bank in Delavan noticed checks issued to Jensen without matching signatures. An audit at the time revealed that the defendant owed the company $273,991.57 of the $871,560 in unauthorized transfers. A company demand for Jensen to immediately return the funds was unsuccessful, according to company officials.

In July 2018, the company owners filed a police report at the City of Delavan Police Department.

Southern Lakes Newspapers publishes this website and several weekly newspapers in Kenosha, Racine and Walworth counties.


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