Long delays in Marathon County embezzlement case - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Long delays in Marathon County embezzlement case

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MARATHON COUNTY (WAOW) -- More than two years ago, a Wausau businessman was confronted about thousands of dollars of missing money. Last week, he was charged with stealing that money.

Prosecutors say Christopher Briquelet, 43, embezzled almost $170,000 from the Wausau Area Builder's Association. Why did it take so long for him to land in court?

When it happened, court records show Briquelet signed a document promising to pay all the money back. But, he didn't. The Marathon County assistant district attorney says that contributed to the long delay.

It started in 2012. Court records show the Wausau Area Builder's Association did an audit of its finances.

“There were some suspicions about where the money was going inside the organization," said Marathon County Assistant District Attorney Ryan Whetstone.

Authorities say Briquelet had been embezzling money from the company for almost three years. He was hired in 2009 as the executive director. The Marathon County assistant district attorney says the thefts involved duplicate payroll checks and unauthorized credit card use.

“The company was starting to have less money on hand than expected," said Whetstone.

Briquelet was let go from the company in 2012. According to the criminal complaint, the WABA did not plan on going to police.

“They just wanted to recover the money. People and organizations want to resolve these situations amicably,” explained Whetstone.

Briquelet signed a document saying he would pay back all the money within ten days of receiving the bill. But, he never did. That happened in august 2012. Briquelet was charged on Friday.

“That's a lot of the frustration. When dealing with a financial crimes, they are labor intensive, they are document intensive. There's a lot of man hours behind the scenes before it actually gets to the point where you're ready to present a case to the public," explained Whetstone.

According to the criminal complaint, Briquelet blamed drugs and alcohol for his behavior. He told police he was shocked at the amount that he was accused of embezzling.

Newsline 9 tried to contact Briquelet and his attorney. No one returned our calls. We reached out to the president of the Wausau Area Builder's Association, he did not immediately return our calls.

Briquelet is free on a $150,000 signature bond.
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