Woman Accused of Embezzling Almost $350k From Employer to Fund Gambling Habit

June 09

Wisconsin, USA - A former bookkeeper and secretary from Wisconsin Dells named Stephanie Czuprynko has pled guilty to pilfering almost $350,000 (£277,000) from her employer to spend on her gambling habit.

According to reports, Czuprynko grabbed the money from two local commissions, the Lake Delton Fire Department and Dells-Delton Emergency Medical Services.

In November of 2018, Czuprynko’s desk was rummaged, uncovering spreadsheets that held data about the theft. Information was also taken about the Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells.

Czuprynko had written checks on both commissions’ accounts to be utilized for her gambling addiction. She had bought signature stamps and used them to approve the checks. The stamps were found in her desk during the search. The suspect explained that she made sure to keep the spreadsheets with the theft information so that she could eventually repay the funds.

A total of $348,233 (£275,209) was taken from the commissions in 2017. Czuprynko confessed to the judge during her trial that the resources were taken to help bankroll her gambling addiction. The investigation into the theft was opened by the local police department and then, handed over to the FBI. The case when then forwarded to the United States Attorney’s Office.

During her employment at the said company, Czuprynko had the responsibility of making bank deposits into the checking accounts of the commissions. She also wrote checks for their expenses and was the only person that had direct access to the banking transactions.

Members of the commission were not validating where the funds were going at the time. John Webb, the Lake Delton Village President, criticized that the record-keeping system, calling it “flawed.” The issues have now been amended.

“There’s already procedural changes made. A number of people now are looking at bank statements and checks,” reported Webb.

The embezzlement was filed as a federal case because the two commissions received federal funds that totaled nearly $685,000 (£541,000) in 2017, the year the theft happened. In late April, Czuprynko was charged in a federal court after a plea agreement was reached. During her first court appearance this week, she pled guilty and now awaits sentencing.

According to the plea agreement, Czuprynko will repay the losses to the commissions based on her actions. She also decided to sell a property that she owns in Wisconsin Dells. At the moment, Czuprynko is free until her sentencing hearing takes place in August. Czuprynko is facing up to ten years in prison along with a $250,000 (£198,000) fine, supervised release for three years, and restitution.