Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Judy L. Albee, 45, of Shell Lake, the former church secretary and treasurer for Faith Lutheran Church in Spooner, received a five-year prison sentence on Oct. 27, 2009 for stealing more than $13,000 from a church account between December 2006 and January 2009.  This was not her first conviction. She already had served time in federal prison for another case where she embezzled.
In the Faith Lutheran case, Albee was charged with seven different counts related to writing 14 unauthorized church checks to individuals and entities to which the church owed money. The checks were endorsed by the “alleged payees” – names Albee forged – and by Albee herself. The complaint said Washburn County District Judge Eugene Harrington, who is a member of Faith Lutheran, had been alerted by Marilyn Norton, assistant treasurer for the church, that Albee had “endorsed and cashed without the knowledge, permission or consent of church elders, board members or pastor.”
Austin Parenteau, investigator for Washburn County Sheriff’s Office, contacted the payees on the 14 checks and all “confirmed” they had not received the checks.In an int erview with Parenteau on March 3, the complaint said, Albee confessed “to stealing thousands of dollars from the church by forging a number of checks which were then either cashed by her directly or deposited into her personal financial accounts without the church’s knowledge, permission or consent.”
In the complaint, Albee said she stole the funds to cover “delinquent” mortgage payments.
Harrington recused himself from the case because of his membership at Faith Lutheran, and Kenneth Kutz, Burnett County District Court judge, took over. Albee pleaded guilty to theft of more than $10,000 in a business setting; two counts of forgery; theft of $5,000 to $10,000 in a business setting; forgery uttering; and fraudulent writings by a corporation officer.
For theft of business greater than $10,000, Kutz sentenced Albee to three years in prison and three years extended supervision; for forgery, two years in prison and two years extended supervision. The two sentences are to be served consecutively, which means Albee will serve a minimum of five years in prison.
For theft of business greater than $5,000 to $10,000 and the second forgery charge, Albee received three years probation for each, with the sentence withheld.

The three other charges were dismissed but read into the record for sentencing.
Kutz ordered the state to submit a restitution plan against Albee within 60 days.
Kutz ordered Albee to do 100 hours of community service within “the community” each year she is on extended supervision or probation.

No comments:

Post a Comment