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Federal fraud crimes case leaks into Wisconsin

While we might not hear about them as often as the horrible violent crimes that splash across the headlines of newspapers, the reality is that Wisconsin state and federal authorities have their eyes wide open looking for alleged government corruption. Such suspicions may lead to charges of mail or wire fraud or embezzlement.

Those charged and convicted of such white collar crimes would be misguided in thinking that just because these are not violent crimes that prosecutors are likely to go light on defendants. Not true. The penalties for such cases can be tremendously severe. Those charged with such crimes owe it to themselves to take them seriously and face them with experienced legal counsel.

Take for example the case of the former comptroller of Dixon, IL. Federal authorities have charged the 59-year-old woman with wire fraud, a charge that could result in a maximum prison term of 20 years in prison. She was arrested in April, has pleaded not guilty to the charge and remains free pending developments in the case.

According to investigators, the woman is alleged to have embezzled more than $50 million from the city of Dixon while she served as the comptroller of the town for 22 years. They claim that she used the money over the course of years to develop a horse breeding business that had assets and operations in at least three states, including Wisconsin.

Among the items investigators say they seized in the course of their probe is a 45-foot motor home said to be worth more than $2 million. Other assets authorities claim to have recovered include cars, trucks, farm vehicles, a boat and some $250,000 in cash.

Recently, despite the fact that no trial has been held and no conviction obtained, a federal judge ordered the motor home auctioned off. Minimum bid being accepted is reportedly $1 million.

With consequences so obviously apparent, even in cases where the legal course hasn't even been run, no one facing serious federal crime charges should go that road alone.

Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Fraud case follows $2 million motor coach to town," Jim Stingl, July 31, 2012

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