Waseca bar owner accused of stealing gambling funds from hockey association

(Waseca, MN) – A Waseca bar owner is accused of stealing gambling funds from the Waseca Hockey Association.

Rachelle Lynn Schoknect, age 47, of Mankato, has been charged in Waseca County Court with felony theft by swindle.  Police reports say that Schoknect and her husband, John, own the Nashville Saloon on State Street in Waseca.

According to the criminal complaint, a  Waseca Hockey Association member contacted police September 7 about the association’s gambling contract with the Nashville Saloon.  The complainant had been trying to access the funds for an audit, but Rachelle Schoknecht said the lock on the safe where the money was kept was broken.  The complainant was worried the money had been stolen.

According to court documents, Schoknect told police that the funds were in a safe with a broken lock, but the locksmith wasn’t available.  She said she would have cash ready for the association to pick up once they gave her a total of how much was missing, and offered to have her husband get money from his boss, according to the criminal complaint.  Sschoknect declined the complainant’s offers to pay for an alternative locksmith.

The complainant later sent police a detailed accounting of the funds, advising that a total of $6,263.96 was missing.

On September 14, Schoknect told police the safe had been fixed on September 11, according to the complaint, but she was unable to produce an invoice, saying the locksmith had a beer at the bar and didn’t charge her to open the safe.  Schoknect reported to police that there was $4,000 in the safe, and indicated she intended to pay the “roughly $2,100” difference to the hockey association by the end of September.

Schoknecht told police it was her former employees who had stolen the money, but she intended to pay it back.  A association member told police she’d tried to collect the money, but Schoknect said that her money had been used to retain an attorney to build a case against her previous employees.  The member later called the attorney, who said he was not representing Schoknect, nor had she paid him any money.

Police interviewed one of the accused former employees.  The woman told police she’d probably accessed the safe twice during her six months at the Nashville.   She said she’d once heard Schoknect say she was going to pay a band from the pull tab money, but wasn’t certain if it had actually happened, according to the complaint.

Schoknecht is due in Waseca County Court on October 30.

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