The local woman who stole more than $10,000 from the Banting Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization has repaid the amount in full and will spend 30 days in jail for her crime, court records show.
Ann Paquette, who pleaded no contest to a felony theft charge in January, was sentenced March 16 in Waukesha County Circuit Court. She was originally accused of stealing about $26,000 from the PTO, but the amount stolen was later determined to be $10,366.06, according to court documents.
Online court records indicate that Judge Ralph Ramirez imposed but stayed a 36-month sentence for Paquette in favor of two years of probation and 30 days of conditioned jail time, which Paquette will begin serving Monday, March 21.
Paquette was accused last May of stealing thousands of dollars of PTO funds while she served as the organization's treasurer. Some of the money was taken by Paquette to reimburse herself for PTO-related expenses she paid for out of pocket, but much of it wasn't and was used instead on personal expenses, according to a criminal complaint.
A letter from the PTO filed with the court said that Paquette 'manipulated and lied' to her fellow PTO members and emphasized that her actions hurt the school, the organization and children.
However, Paquette's attorney, Paul Bucher, said in a separate letter to the court that 'Other than this unfortunate case and exercise in poor judgment Ms. Paquette is well thought of in the community.'
Several letters from Paquette's close friends and family members supported that characterization of her. In one of them, a long-time friend described Paquette as 'deeply caring' and said she was a role model for and positive influence on her friend's children.
'When you make a bad choice or do something you're not proud of, you can't sweep it under the rug or cast blame or make excuses,' the friend wrote. 'You need to own up to it and face the consequences of your actions. That is what I have seen Ann do through all of this and is something that makes me very proud.'
In addition to Paquette's jail term, the conditions of her probation require her to inform any future employers of her conviction and prohibit her from participating in any school programs without her probation agent's approval, court records show.
She repaid the entire $10,366.06 to the District Attorney's trust account before her sentencing, and is scheduled to begin serving her time at the Waukesha County Huber Facility at 5 p.m. March 21.