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Originally published Wednesday, March 24, 2010 at 3:29 PM

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Pet food company owners charged in utility scheme

Authorities say a couple who own a gourmet pet food company featured on Rachael Ray's show stole nearly $2 million in gas and electricity.

The Associated Press

CHICAGO —

Authorities say a couple who own a gourmet pet food company featured on Rachael Ray's show stole nearly $2 million in gas and electricity.

Joel and Holly Sher (SHUR) of Lincolnwood, in suburban Chicago, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of felony theft and money laundering. They own Evanger's Dog and Cat Food Co. in Wheeling.

Prosecutors say they directed employees to dig through concrete to divert gas lines and to redirect power from high-voltage electricity lines. Authorities say one worker was told to go up in a forklift to disconnect some equipment before an inspection.

Attorneys for the couple say the evidence will exonerate them.

Their company offers items such as canned pheasant for dogs and a "seafood and caviar dinner" for cats. It was featured on Ray's show in 2008.

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