Similar case still pending
A Waukesha woman who stole almost $23,000 from the local school district while employed there will spend the next three months behind bars, a Waukesha County Circuit judge ruled Monday, May 8.
The sentence came almost exactly one month after 42-year-old Stacey Russell pleaded no contest to a felony theft charge in the case and was convicted by Judge Lee S. Dreyfus.
Online court records indicate that Dreyfus stayed a six-year prison term for Russell in favor of five years probation, including the jail time. He also ordered her to pay almost $20,000 in restitution to Sodexo Inc. – which was the Waukesha School District's food services provider when Russell was charged – and about $8,500 to Waukesha State Bank, where she cashed several fraudulent checks.
Russell ran a kitchen cash register at Waukesha South High School, and was responsible for making daily deposits into the district account. She had been employed at the school through Sodexo since August 2013.
Her jail term began Friday, May 12, records show.
She was charged in April 2015 about five months after another district employee noticed discrepancies in deposits Russell made in September and October 2014. She was originally facing a felony fraud charge as well, but records show it was dismissed as part of a plea agreement.
According to a criminal complaint, Russell stole money by skimming from checks given to her by students and at times by simply pocketing money from food sales she didn't ring into the register.
The money from the checks would be credited to a student's account, but Russell would enter a lesser dollar amount than was written on the check into the sales system and pocket the difference, the complaint said.
She used the money and forged checks to pay various bills, and tried gambling with some of it in a supposed attempt to recoup the funds.
Russell's case was not the only one of its kind.
Another woman, Jaime Cutts, stands accused of stealing $14,000 from the Hawthorne Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization.
She's scheduled to take her case to trial July 25, court records show.