BREAKING: Mills Town Clerk/Treasurer Accused Of Embezzling $64,000
Mills Town Clerk/Treasurer Lisa Whetstone is accused of embezzling more than $64,000 from the town for more than two years, according to court records.
"The audit conducted indicated a total loss to the Town of Mills be be $64,383.51," according to the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation's affidavit filed with Natrona County Circuit Court.
While not part of the indictment, Whetstone and Mills Mayor Marrolyce Wilson also ordered town employees to not assist law enforcement after Wilson was told of the investigation, according to the DCI.
Whetstone was arrested Wednesday, posted a $5,000 bond, and was ordered to have no contact with any town employees.
Thursday, Assistant District Attorney Mike Schafer asked, and Circuit Court Judge Michael Patchen agreed, to continue that bond. She probably will appear in circuit court within three weeks for her preliminary hearing when a judge will decide whether to bind her case over to Natrona County District Court for trial.
Her attorney Keith Nachbar said Whetstone is still an employee with the Town of Mills.
Patchen said she is charged with two counts of grand theft, each punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment; and failing as a public servant to account for, deliver and pay over property received by virtue of the office, punishable by up to five years imprisonment.
The case started in January 2015 when the Wyoming Department of Audit began a performance audit of Mills from July 2013 to June 2014, DCI agent Len Propps wrote in his affidavit.
Whetstone was among three employees in charge of handling the town's finances, with one of those employees leaving during fiscal year.
Auditors could not find cash received by the town that was to be deposited into its bank account, Propps wrote. The 2013-2014 fiscal year was short by $26,668.80. The auditors expanded their work for July through December and found another $18,877.34 short, for a total of $45,546.14.
The DCI joined the Department of Audit's investigation and interviewed Whetstone and other town employees, Propps wrote. "All employees interviewed noted that Mrs. Whetstone had access to the cash that came in, she made the deposit slip, and she entered the amount of the deposit into QuickBooks, which provided opportunity for decreasing detection."
The investigation further determined deposits were not made timely, often had the incorrect date, and never included change,according to the affidavit.
Sept. 9, 2015, marked the last day significant cash was not deposited. The missing funds for that month alone amounted to $4,520.80.
Auditors also reviewed the accounts of town-issued credit card, including one for Whetstone who was found to use it for personal expenses. Mills was liable for all charges and there was no personal liability, Propps wrote.
"Of the Town issued credit cards, Mrs. Whetstone was the only person to consistently carry a significant monthly balance, which also incurred late fees, over limit fees, and interest," Propps wrote. "Mrs. Whetstone was the sole person to receive all the Towns credit card statements and made the payments."
On Sept. 18, the auditor and Propps told Whetstone about the investigation.
Two weeks later, Propps told Mayor Wilson about the theft and Whetstone was the primary suspect.
"Wilson's only response was to cover her ears," he wrote.
"Thereafter, both Wilson and Whetstone informed employees of the town that if they cooperated with law enforcement they were threatened to be disciplined and put on probation. In fact, one employee who let your Affiant (Propps) into the town building because he possessed a search warrant was disciplined and placed on probation by Wilson and Whetstone."