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Woodbury man sentenced to jail in stolen funds case

A Woodbury man convicted of using stolen funds to pay a Woodbury youth basketball coach was sentenced to jail and to pay more than $7,000 in restitution.

Hai Jay Phu Vu, 49, pleaded guilty July 31 in Washington County District Court to one count of felony theft stemming from allegations that he used unauthorized funds from his former employer to make personal purchases at Best Buy and to pay a youth basketball coach in Woodbury.

Vu was sentenced Oct. 23 to 25 days in jail, which Washington County District Court Judge Richard Ilkka said could be served through a blend of Sentencing to Service and community service.

According to a criminal complaint, Oakdale police were alerted in April 2013 by the owner of Whitney Worldwide Corporation that Vu, a former bookkeeper there, had made unauthorized purchases from the company checking account.

One incident involved the purchase of personal computer items in the amount of $2,235 from Best Buy, the complaint states.

The owner also learned Vu allegedly issued two checks totaling $5,500 from company coffers to a man identified as L.J. The complaint states L.J. was hired to coach a girls basketball team in Woodbury during the summer of 2012.

The funds were ultimately removed from the coach’s bank account since Vu didn’t have the authority to write the checks, the complaint states.

According to the complaints, the coach contacted Vu in November 2012 about the funds and was told the discrepancy involved internal fighting over company control at his workplace and that Vu would pay him later. The coach never received payment from Vu, the complaint states.

The sentencing summary orders Vu to repay $3,000 to Lionel Jones. Jones coached the Royals girls basketball team during the 2011-12 season.

Vu, who was ordered to serve five years on probation, must also repay $4,415 to Whitney Worldwide Corporation. He must disclose the offense to any future employers for jobs where he would have access to finances or accounting, according to terms of the sentence.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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