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STILLWATER, Minn. - The former organizer of Stillwater's Lumberjack Days festival is charged in a check scheme that swindled area businesses out of tens of thousands of dollars.

The Washington County Attorney filed ten criminal counts against 61-year-old David W. Eckberg of Stillwater.

The complaint filed in the case alleges that Eckberg knowingly wrote checks to a pair of beer distributors,a lighting company and the Stillwater Blue Line Boosters, which provided labor that helpedcarry out the festival.

Prosecutors allege that Eckberg requested the recipients to hold the checks pending sufficient funds being place into the accounts. In the meantime, records show, Eckberg deposited and then transferred in excess of $40,000 from the Lumberjack
Festival and St. Croix Events accounts into his and his wife's personal accounts.

This sum was sufficient to cover the outstanding debt, but Eckberg continued to tell the victims there were insufficient funds in the account and to hold the checks.

"This has been a careful, painstaking investigation that has required the issuance of multiple search warrants and the review of boxes and boxes of documents," explained Washington County Attorney Pete Orput."Frankly, the victims deserve more than the criminal justice system can provide them."