Crime, Law and Justice

Former St. Kate’s dean accused of swindling $400K from school

St. Catherine University in St. Paul
School officials turned over their findings to the St. Paul Police Department.
Peter Cox | MPR News

A former St. Catherine University dean and a man she had a romantic relationship with are both charged with allegedly embezzling more than $400,000 from the small St. Paul private school. 

Ramsey County prosecutors allege Laura Jean Fero, who served as nursing dean from 2019-2023, spent much of that time creating fake contracts with Juan Ramon Bruce’s health care consulting company, JB & Associates LLC.

Court documents allege the couple did so on purpose, as Bruce’s company provided little or no services to the university.

According to the charges, St. Catherine officials didn’t investigate Fero and Bruce’s practices until after Fero had left the university in November 2023.

School officials then turned over their findings to the St. Paul Police Department, which determined through its investigation that Bruce’s company had not been providing legitimate services to St. Kate’s, and the money Fero contracted to Bruce allegedly went partly to financing travel plans for the couple.

Both are charged with six counts of aiding and abetting theft by swindle. Fero, 54, who now lives in Florida and works at another school, was arrested after landing at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport last week. Fero posted $75,000 bond and was released from county jail.

Bruce, who lives in Shakopee, was arrested Friday and remained jailed Monday instead of paying $100,000 bail.

St. Kate’s spokesperson Sarah Voigt said in an email, “St. Catherine University is aware of the charges filed. Because this is an active investigation, we are not able to provide any additional information or comment at this time.”

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