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Luck woman sentenced for forgery

A Luck woman will spend one year and a day in federal prison for forging checks totaling nearly $400,000 from her employer to herself over a 10-year period, according to a news release issued by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Sarah McKenzie, 41, pleaded guilty to making a forged security in federal court on Oct. 30. She was sentenced last week by U.S. District Judge William Conley.

In addition to the prison term, McKenzie was sentenced to two years of supervised release.

According to the news release, McKenzie worked at Core Products International in Osceola, Wisconsin, as accounts manager and human resources director. A 2016 examination of bank statements by Core Product's accounting department turned up company checks bearing duplicate check numbers that were either written to McKenzie or written to "cash." They were signed in the CEO's name but the signature did not appear to match.

A criminal investigation and internal audit revealed that McKenzie wrote about 305 checks to herself or "cash" between 2006 and August 2016. The total amount of the checks was $291,436.

In addition, between 2011 and August 2016, McKenzie generated 98 company checks to "cash," which she signed, endorsed and negotiated at a bank. There was no documentation in the company's books to support cutting the checks, which totaled $105,205.

Bank records show McKenzie spent the majority of the stolen money at casinos or on psychic hotlines.

In sentencing McKenzie, Judge Conley noted that her criminal conduct was "outrageous" and was troubled by how long the embezzlement continued.

The charges against McKenzie were a result of an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Polk County Sheriff's Office and Osceola Police Department and United States Attorney Scott C. Blader of Western District of Wisconsin Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Wegner handled the prosecution.