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Winneconne business has over $170k fraudulently taken, employee facing theft charge

Local News

(Photo: Getty Images)

WINNECONNE, Wis. (WFRV) – Critters Wolf River Sports and Woodeye’s Bar and Grill allegedly had an employee fraudulently give herself over $170,000 of the company’s money over a five-year period.

According to a criminal complaint, 48-year-old Stephanie Arnett worked for Critters Wolf River Sports and Woodeye’s Bar and Grill as a bookkeeper. An employee noticed Arnett depositing checks multiple days in a row.

Woodeye’s Bar and Grill are both located at 700 West Main Street in Winneconne.

Following Arnett’s suspicious activity an investigation in the business’s financials was started. Arnett reportedly had access to the financials and banking accounts of the business.

Employees of the business compared her time cards to the payroll checks that were issued to Arnett, and it was also noted that Arnett would be the one creating the checks. The investigation showed that Arnett was having checks issued for a greater dollar amount than they should have been.

271 of Arnett’s checks were allegedly ‘too large’ for the hours worked. From 2016 to 2021 the total overpayment from these checks was over $26,000.

Additionally, it was revealed that Arnet frequently issued herself multiple paychecks for the same pay period. Over $16,000 was obtained by Arnett this way from 2016 to 2021.

The business also found out that Arnett created checks that were payable to her, but when she documented them in company records she would use names of different vendors. The fraudulent checks created this way totaled over $40,000 and included 62 checks from 2016 to 2021.

Arnett also allegedly did a series of direct transfers from the company’s account to accounts that were later determined to be associated with Arnett. There were multiple transfers including:

  • From June 2017 to Oct. 2020 – $21,343.56
  • From Feb. 2019 to July 2021 – $18,081.18
  • From March 2021 to June 2021 – $1,154.11
  • March 2017 to June 2021 – Approximately $52,000

The investigation also found a series of checks issued to Arnett that were labeled as ‘reimbursement’. There were a total of 37 transactions in this category that totaled $9,530.93.

During the initial investigation, a representative confronted Arnett about whether she stole money from the company. The representative stated that Arnett seemed to acknowledge that she had ‘accidentally’ inflated her paychecks, and agreed to pay back the money. At this time the known loss was reportedly just a small fraction of the actual total.

The company reported that the total amount taken by Arnett without permission was over $170,000.

Arnett is facing one count: Theft – Business Setting over $10,000. If convicted she could face fines up to $25,000, imprisonment up to ten years or both.

Arnett is scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 10 at 8:45 a.m.

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