EAGLE RIVER (WAOW) - A woman who just months ago was honored as Eagle River's woman of the year has pleaded not guilty to two felonies accusing her of stealing about $16,000 from a civic group that raises money to benefit children in need.
Michelle Albaugh, 37, waived her right to a preliminary hearing in Vilas County Circuit Court on Monday and entered the pleas to one count of theft of more than $10,000 and one count of identity theft, according to online court records. No trial date was immediately set.
Albaugh, who was named the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce's 2012 woman of the year, stole the money from the Eagle River Jaycees from January 2012 to May 2013 while she was treasurer of the group and had its debit card, the criminal complaint said.
She told investigators "she did it because of hard times," the complaint said. "Ms. Albaugh stated that this all happened during and after her knee surgery."
An audit discovered the embezzlement after the club discovered its bank account "was much smaller than it should have been," the complaint said.
Albaugh, who was a member of the Jaycees for about 15 years, told investigators she used the club's debit card for meals at restaurants, gasoline, food, entertainment and even paying her father's Direct TV and phone bills, the complaint said.
Albaugh used the card to withdraw about $6,000 from ATMs for her own use, the complaint said.
According to the complaint, Albaugh tried to repay all the money by asking her friends for help but no one from the Jaycees would accept her check, the complaint said.
The maximum punishment for felony theft is 10 years in prison. The maximum punishment for identify theft is six years in prison.
Albaugh's attorney, Richard Voss, did not immediately return a telephone message Tuesday.
According to the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce, Albaugh was honored in 2012 for her volunteering and community service.