A Ladysmith woman who misappropriated over $700,000 while working for the Rusk County Health and Human Services Department faces more than 20 years in federal prison.
Sandra Stiner, 65, pleaded guilty Wednesday, Aug. 12 in federal court to wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and criminal asset forfeiture, according to a release from Scott Blader, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin.
Stiner worked at the Rusk County Health and Human Services Department for 42 years before retiring in 2019. From June 2010 to January 2019, she pocketed $702,351 by creating and submitting fake invoices for nonexistent intensive in-home autism services for two children.
Stiner used identification from real people and a real home-based therapy company to create documentation that looked legitimate. Information including names and a tax identification number were used to create a nominee bank account, nominee email account and fictitious invoices. Stiner set up the nominee bank account to funnel payments directly to herself instead of the real owner of the therapy company.
The Ladysmith woman admitted to forging the signature of the therapy company’s founder on documents and IRS forms and creating a false letter and financial statements using information from a legitimate CPA firm.
Stiner told the court that she spent the money she took on credit card payments, cash advances, an iTunes gaming app, retail shopping, her home mortgage and automobile loan payments.
The maximum penalty for the wire fraud charge is 20 years in federal prison. The penalty for the aggravated identity theft charge is a mandatory two years, which would be served consecutively.
As part of her Aug. 12 plea agreement, Stiner agreed to a criminal asset forfeiture judgment of $702,351, and potential forfeiture of substitute assets, including real estate, vehicles, boats, a camper, her pension and household contents.
Sentencing for Stiner is set for Nov. 4 before U.S. District Judge William M. Conley.