Toy company owner pleads guilty to defrauding investors

A federal judge Wednesday sentenced the former owner of a Twin Cities toy company to five and-a-half years in prison.

Last May, 67-year-old Sandra Lee Calkins pleaded guilty to defrauding a bank and 42 investors out of about $9 million.

Calkins admitted that when she owned Edina-based Princess Soft Toys, she falsified financial statements to renew a line of credit. Central Bank lost $1.6 million as result.

As part of a plea deal, Calkins admitted to fleecing investors out of $7 million, said Jeanne Cooney with the U.S. Attorney's office in Minneapolis.

"She induced investors to provide her money for what they thought would be investments in the company, and then in fact she used that money for her own personal gain," Cooney said.

Princess Soft Toys closed in 2010, and Connecticut-based toymaker Melissa & Doug bought the brand.

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