Woman charged with stealing $700K from GH company

Becky Vargo • Apr 4, 2018 at 8:00 AM

A civil case has been settled, but a criminal case is moving forward in the alleged embezzlement of around $1 million from a local construction firm.

The criminal complaint alleges Jessica Dawn Kreason, 38, stole more than $700,000 from her former employers, Hamstra Building LLC of Grand Haven, while employed there as a part-time bookkeeper from 2008-14.

Kreason waived her preliminary examination in Ottawa County District Court on March 29 for a charge of embezzlement of $100,000 or more. The Muskegon woman was bound over to Circuit Court for arraignment on April 9, but also waived that.

A trial date will be set and Kreason is free on bond.

In a lawsuit settled earlier in the day for $107,000, Kreason was alleged to have channeled money from her employer to herself, her husband and other businesses in an amount totaling $1,015,499.38. That hearing occurred in front of Chief Circuit Judge Jon Van Allsburg.

The lawsuit was filed Dec. 27, 2016.

Judgments have already been entered against some of the parties, including Mark Dombrowski and Andrew Hill and The Surface Group for more than $168,000. Others named in the lawsuit were Alta Financial for $12,600, Martin Vanthof (Kreason’s husband) for $49,855 and the CRC Group for $20,714. The CRC Group, according to the lawsuit, was an unregistered entity owned and used by Kreason, Vanthof and Carol Dudley of Fort Wayne, Indiana.

The lawsuit claimed that Kreason intercepted the building company’s mail, coerced accountants into not performing audits, maxed out the company credit cards, fraudulently obtained lines of credits in the company’s name, drained the company bank accounts, did not pay company suppliers and subcontractors, informed the IRS that the company operations had ceased and not to expect any more tax payments, created fake business expenditures, created fraudulent business projects, and funneled money to the co-defendants. 

The criminal probable cause determination, held in front of Hulsing on Feb. 23, noted that an Ottawa County Sheriff’s deputy responded to the Todd and Mary Hamstra home in Grand Haven Township to take a complaint on Sept. 10, 2014. The Hamstras are owners of the construction company.

In May 2014, the Hamstras received a notification from PNC Bank that their debit card was being used at the Gun Lake Casino. Hamstra said he did not have a debit card for the business account.

In the days that followed, the Hamstras confronted Kreason, who claimed she used the company card by mistake and that she would pay them back.

Kreason was fired and an accounting firm was hired to do an audit of the construction company’s accounts. Through this, Walburg & Associates provided the Hamstras with documents noting that Kreason had written a total of $719,440.97 in checks and debit card charges to herself and friends and business associates of hers, according to the probable cause statement. There were also checks included in the total to vendors and subcontractors not used by the construction company, according to the court papers.

Hulsing issued a warrant for Kreason’s arrest, and she was arrested March 7. She was arraigned and bond was set at $50,000, and then lowered to $15,000 with added conditions.

The Hamstras declined to comment on the situation due to restrictions in the settlement agreement. However, they did emphasize that the situation occurred years ago and it is now business as usual for their construction company.

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