APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – A 51-year-old Appleton woman has been convicted of stealing thousands from a Fox Valley company while she was employed there.
Former bookkeeper Stacey Gersmehl was found guilty due to pleading no contest on Monday to one count of theft in a business setting greater than $100,000.
According to the criminal complaint obtained by Local 5 News, in December 2021, the owners of Fox Cities Title Company discovered a theft of $3,000 in relation to Gersmehl’s paychecks.
The owners claimed that Gersmehl, without authorization, had been paying herself $500 extra per paycheck for six pay periods.
The owners spoke to Gersmehl about the incident, where she admitted to the theft. The two sides agreed that Gersmehl would pay back the money in monthly installments. In exchange, the company would not pursue criminal charges.
However, during the process of reviewing the financials for Fox Cities Title Company, the owners learned that Gersmehl had engaged in another, more serious fraudulent scheme dating back to at least 2019.
The criminal complaint states that the owners discovered that Gersmehl had been transferring portions of incoming funds for Fox Cities Title Company into an account at Associated Bank for her personal use.
Fox Cities Title Company used to have an account with Associated Bank, but it was closed for some time as they switched over to a different provider, making the owners suspect that Gersmehl had either reopened the previously closed account or created a new one.
Based on the number of cashed checks they had found, the number of stolen funds was around $110,000, and when attempting to gain information about the account, the owners could not because their names were not on the account.
The complaint says that between the whole time period of August 2012 and December 2021, Gersmehl embezzled around $334,684.29 from the company.
When authorities met with Gersmehl to discuss the matter, she claimed that she had an under-the-table agreement with the owners, which was not documented in any form, that she could deposit money into the Associated Bank account on a monthly basis.
She also said that this was a monthly bonus of $2,000 per month, but could explain how the monthly average amount was so significantly higher than $2,000 per month.
The owners denied that the alleged under-the-table agreement ever existed and said that was “not something he would do in his business practices.”
Sentencing for Gersmehl is scheduled for December 4. She could face up to 12 and a half years in prison.