Valparaiso salon co-owner charged with stealing nearly $400,000

2011-12-21T17:45:00Z 2011-12-22T09:20:45Z Valparaiso salon co-owner charged with stealing nearly $400,000By Bob Kasarda bob.kasarda@nwi.com, (219) 548-4345 nwitimes.com
December 21, 2011 5:45 pm  • 

VALPARAISO | A co-owner of Bella Capelli Salon and Details faces 10 felony charges on accusations she stole nearly $400,000 from the company over the past three years.

Monica Schmidt, 32, of 83 Scotscraig Drive, Valparaiso, appeared in court Wednesday morning on six counts of fraud, three counts of theft and one count of forgery.

Porter Circuit Court Judge Mary Harper set bond at $15,000 and prohibited Schmidt from leaving the state or renewing her passport.

The alleged offense came to light last year when fellow business owner Tammy Ferrari asked Schmidt about the company finances as part of a discussion about a potential move from 902 Calumet Ave. to a larger site, police said. When Schmidt ignored the request for information, Ferrari reportedly discovered three credit cards in Ferrari's name with a balance due of about $16,000.

Numerous other credit cards with thousands of dollars due also were discovered, as were nonbusiness payments from a company bank account, police said. These payments included health insurance for Schmidt's family when she and Ferrari had agreed years earlier not to use company funds for that purpose, authorities said.

Ferrari discovered that Schmidt was spending up to $20,000 a month from the company for personal gain, police said. These amounts totaled $115,000 in 2008, $136,000 in 2009 and $143,000 in 2010.

A trial was set for June 6, with preliminary hearings Feb. 21 and April 3.

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