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Wisconsin pageant winner facing criminal charges

Facing criminal charges can seriously affect one's future. Especially for young individuals, being accused of a crime can make it difficult in the future to find employment. But consequences can also exist in the present, as one young woman is discovering.

She had been crowned Miss Wisconsin last fall, a title that many young women vie for. But she recently decided to give up her crown several months before the end of her reign. According to beauty pageant officials, the 26-year-old Madison woman has been charged with three counts of identity fraud - a felony.

The decision to withdraw as the state's titleholder was her own. The young woman believed it would be the best for everyone involved if she stepped down.

Police had been investigating the young woman since last fall when the department started to receive complaints. She allegedly falsified identification information while working for a marketing company prior to her being crowned.

Pageant officials say the young woman was formally charged last month and pleaded not guilty. She decided it was in her own best interests and that of the pageant to give up her title. The consequences of the charges affect not only her life but also the pageant organization, which she represented as Miss Wisconsin.

While officials plan to press charges and go to trial in July, one source says the charges may be lowered to a misdemeanor. However police have made no further comments regarding any such agreement.

There is also no information as to what sort of legal sanctions she could be facing. She may be required to perform community service or even serve a prison sentence. Until the official charges are filed, she could be facing felony charges or misdemeanor charges.

Source: Daily Tribune online, "Walled Lake Central grad resigns as Miss Wisconsin following felony charges," Dave Phillips, 16 May 2011

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