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Cottage Grove man accused of stealing $670,00 from St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese

A Cottage Grove man who worked as the St. Paul-Minneapolis Catholic Archdiocese's accounting director is accused of stealing nearly $700,000 from the church and using it to pay credit cards and other personal expenses.

Scott J. Domeier, 50, was charged last week with seven counts of theft by swindle in Ramsey County District Court in St. Paul. He pleaded not guilty.

Domeier could not be reached for comment. A woman who answered the phone at his Wildflower Lane home on Monday said he was "not around" and hung up.

Domeier worked as the church's director of accounting services from February of 1995 to Jan. 3, 2012. That is when the church placed him on administrative leave after learning Domeier had inappropriately accepted first-class airline tickets to Hawaii from a vendor and misused the church credit card issued to him, according to the criminal complaint.

Domeier used the church credit card to pay for repairs to a car he claimed belonged to the archdiocese. It belonged to the church in 1995, but Domeier allegedly diverted a $4,735 Hurricane Katrina relief check from another parish to pay for the vehicle. Church records showed that the parish owned the car.

The church hired a forensic accounting firm, which found that Domeier stole more than $670,000 to pay off his credit cards, private school tuition for his children and other personal expenses.

He allegedly instructed someone else in his accounting department to write a check and include a church-related expense on the memo line. Domeier would then sign the check and divert the money to his personal use. The complaint says he used other employees because they would not trigger further scrutiny.

The alleged theft is split up into seven separate charges covering different time periods from 2008 to earlier this year. The complaint cites alleged thefts of $54,000, $45,000, $52,000, $77,000, $93,000, $95,000 and $67,000.

The archdiocese said in a statement that insurance will cover the loss.

Scott Wente is editor of the South Washington County Bulletin.