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November 28, 2002

Monticello accountant sentenced for embezzling $1 million

From: Minneapolis Star Tribune, MN - 28 Nov 2002

Associated Press

A former accountant for Miracle-Ear Inc. was sentenced Wednesday to 30 months in prison for embezzling more than $1 million from the Plymouth-based hearing aid company.

William Hoffman III, 34, of Monticello, pleaded guilty in May to one count of mail fraud and one count of forging a security.

Chief Judge James Rosenbaum also ordered Hoffman to pay about $664,000 in restitution to Miracle-Ear. Hoffman previously forfeited a collector's car, a speed boat and his home -- all of which were purchased or paid off with embezzled funds.

In court, Hoffman admitted that over a nine-month period beginning in February 2001 he caused more than 28 Miracle-Ear checks to be issued totaling nearly $1.1 million and deposited them in a bank account he created and controlled under a fictitious company name.

Hoffman, a senior staff accountant, used his knowledge of vendors to create Right Choice Options Inc., a name that resembled a real Miracle-Ear vendor named Right Choice, according to U.S. Attorney Thomas Heffelfinger.

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