Plea deal for Athens woman in business theft case - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Plea deal for Athens woman in business theft case

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An Athens woman accused of embezzling more than $500,000 reached a plea agreement with  prosecutors Monday. The deal drops four felonies and will likely lead to recommendations that she be sentenced to six years in prison.

Michelle Walters was charged with seven counts of felony theft last year.

According to the criminal complaint, Walters, 40, embezzled more than $500,000 from Northwestern Wisconsin Association, a retirement benefits firm where she worked for almost two decades.

Walters pleaded guilty to three counts during a brief appearance in Marathon County Circuit Court.

In the plea deal, prosecutors agreed to recommend that Walters be sentenced to two years in prison and four years of supervised release for each conviction and that the sentences be served consecutively, Assistant District Attorney Ryan Wetzsteon said.

Walters has repaid $100,000 of the money that she took, Circuit Judge Michael Moran said.

Walters sentencing is scheduled for June 13.

Defense attorney Richard Lawson tells Newsline 9 he will argue Walters be sentenced to probation and any time behind bars should be served in the county jail. He says that will allow Walters to continue to make restitution.
 
Walters was Northwestern's vice president of administration late in 2012 when the investigation began, the complaint said.
 
The complaint documents incidents where Northwestern checks were written by Walters, signed by Walters and endorsed by Walters.


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