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Nelson clerk sentenced for stealing village money

MADISON—The former Village Clerk of the Village of Nelson, Wisconsin was sentenced to one year of supervised release for stealing money belonging to the Village while that money was in the care of the Bank of Alma.

John W. Vaudreuil, United Stats Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin announced that Penny M. Mau, 54, Nelson was sentenced on September 15th by U. S. District Judge William M. Conley for stealing money belonging to the Village of Nelson. Mau pleaded guilty to the charge on June 23, 2016.

Judge Conley also ordered Mau to pay $11,740 in restitution, and a $5,000 fine. Mau paid back approximately $12,000 to the bank before her scheme was detected, and another $10,000 after she was confronted by the bank. Mau owes the additional $1,600 to the bank to cover he cost of their internal investigation.

The investigation established that between January 2011 and January 2014, Mau stole $22,141 from a Village of Nelson account at the Bank of Alma. Mau’s scheme went undetected for three years because she would return the money she stole by the end of the month, so the shortage would not appear on the monthly statements. During the course of the scheme, she was the clerk of the Village of Nelson and an employee of the Bank of Alma, giving her ability to handle he money in a way that avoided detection.

When initially confronted by the bank, there was a $10,000 shortage in a Village of Nelson account, money that had been deposited instead into Mau’s personal account. Mau initially attributed the losses to accounting errors, but eventually pleaded guilty to taking the money

However, following her guilty plea in federal court, Mau submitted a resignation letter to the Village of Nelson indicating that she was not guilty of the offense. Mau retracted those statements at her sentencing hearing and apologized to both the Village of Nelson and the Bank of Alma.

In sentencing Mau, Judge Conley indicated that she violated the trust of both the village and the bank in a fairly sophisticated way, and that one of the reasons she was prosecuted for a federal felony was the lies she told early in the investigation. In response to her continued lies in her letter of resignation to the village following her plea hearing, Judge Conley observed that to the extent Mau paints herself as a victim, she is doing herself, her family, and her community a disservice, and stated “you can’t move on until you own it.” Judge Conley further noted that while Mau has some good qualities, she has a serious problem with confronting truth.

The charge against Mau was the result of an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in La Crosse.