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White collar crimes charges filed against Wisconsin couple

The potential ramifications for a person accused by an employer of embezzlement can be life-changing. Detailed public charges of wrongdoing on part of the accused can make it seem that the alleged crime is indefensible. White collar crimes in Wisconsin can result in jail time, fines and restitution on part of those convicted.

A husband and wife in Wisconsin have been accused of embezzling nearly $190,000 from a church in St. Croix County. The thefts are claimed to have taken place between February 2006 and May 2015. Included in the sum are almost $168,000 in unapproved checks and nearly $22,000 cash. Felony theft charges have been entered against both parties, and the wife has been accused of unauthorized identity use.

The investigation began in 2015 when the new pastor of the church notified the sheriff's office of notes taken by the previous pastor relating to events that started in May 2015. Those records indicated that the wife explained in a prepared statement read in a closed-door meeting that the embezzlement dated back to 2012. The husband said then that he had no knowledge of the alleged theft for several years but later offered to repay over $39,000 in installments. 

A first repayment check for $15,000 was presented by the couple on May 27, 2015, but was rejected by the church. A repayment plan of  $168,000 over a nine-year time period was also rejected. A firm hired by the church listed the losses at $159,751 but the sheriff's office arrived at a sum of $189,448.

When a person is accused of embezzlement, the charges can seem iron-clad and the outlook for the accused bleak. White collar crimes, though non-violent in nature, still carry stiff penalties. As with any other criminal charges, the defendants in these cases are entitled to the right of representation by an experienced defense attorney. Careful and detailed examination of the records on behalf of the defendants in this case could result in reduced charges, a favorable plea bargain or even a finding at trial of not guilty.

Source: newrichmond-news.com, "Roberts couple accused of embezzling church funds", Mike Longaecker, Dec. 30, 2016

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