Hotel Owners Devastated After Former Employees Arrested in Chippewa Co. Embezzlement Case

“Just plain evil, that’s the only word I can think of. You have to be an evil person to do something like this.”

Hotel owners are devastated after three former workers were arrested in one of the biggest cases of embezzlement in Chippewa County history.

Police say it involves four former employees of the Ramada Plaza Hotel Ojibway in downtown Sault Ste. Marie.

They’re accused of taking more than $500,000 from the hotel and the people who have stayed there.

All four suspects worked in management positions at the hotel, and police believe they have been stealing money since 2015.

We sat down with the owners, who are completely heartbroken over what has happened.

They say if this went on for one more week, they would have gone broke.

“What was amazing was, for a while, nobody knew. The bank didn’t know it, our CPAs didn’t know it, they were very good at what they did,” said Dean Krieg.

It wasn’t until this fall when credit card companies started calling with claims of fraud that owners Mary and Dean Krieg were tipped off.

“Things just didn’t add up,” explained Dean. Mary added, “Checkbooks not matching ledgers.” Dean continued, “After that, we started digging much deeper. And the deeper we investigated it, the worse it got.”

What they found was hundreds of thousands of dollars missing, unpaid utility bills and complaints from many of the hotel-goers.

Detective Darrell Harp was called in to investigate.

“It looked like the embezzling had got to the point where they decided to double charge, triple charge and overcharge customers’ credit cards to get that money back into the account that they were embezzling from,” explained Det. Harp, Sault Ste. Marie Police Department.

Mary and Dean spend most of their time in Arizona. They put their trust in the now criminal suspects for close to 20 years.

“I think there’s a time in shock where you can’t believe someone would do this to you, especially somebody you always felt was a friend,” said Mary.

Mary and Dean have already been paying back victims of the credit card fraud.

They say they are still trying to recover from their losses.

The number of people affected by this is still unknown. If you have stayed at the hotel anytime from 2015 until late 2017, you are asked to contact police if you find you’re a victim.

All four suspects will likely be charged next week.