Friday, September 23, 2011

Ex-church treasurer in Neiilsville gets jail for embezzling $127,000 in Wisconsin

A Neillsville church treasurer guilty in an embezzlement scam was sentenced Thursday to six months in jail and ordered to pay $127,555 in restitution.

John L. Roenz, 63, of Neillsville began repaying Calvary Lutheran Church immediately, ponying up $100,000 of his restitution shortly after he was sentenced, according to a Clark County clerk of courts official.
Roenz was sentenced to 20 days in jail, after which he will be eligible for electronic monitoring. He also was sentenced to 36 months of probation and is required to perform 1,250 hours of community service.
Roenz pleaded guilty June 29 to one felony count of theft and two felony counts of fraud. He initially was charged in March with 12 felony counts for embezzling $132,430 from the church since 2004.
Records indicate Roenz, a former teacher in the Neillsville school district, wrote 1,176 checks totaling $140,055 to himself since 2003, but state law allows him to be charged only for offenses dating to 2004.
Roenz said he wrote checks to himself, cashed them, paid bills with the cash and destroyed the receipts at the end of each year.
The church treasurer for about 24 years, Roenz told police he stole from the church only in 2010. He said he was angry at the Calvary congregation because it was operating in the red and "no one cared, so he thought he would just take the money."
Roenz also told police he occasionally gambled and used most of the money for "going out to eat." He failed to pay $8,684 in state income tax from 2004 through 2009.

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