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Turtle Lake woman charged with wire fraud, church theft

MADISON, WI — A federal grand jury for the Western District of Wisconsin, setting in Madison returned an indictment against a Turtle Lake Woman on December 5th.

Deborah R. Marcellus, 63, is charged with seven counts of wire fraud and four counts of filing a false income tax return. The indictment alleges that she filed false tax returns for four years beginning in 2012, in which she under-reported her adjusted gross income.

The indictment alleges that from January 2011 to April 2017, Marcellus devised a scheme to defraud St. Joseph’s Catholic Church Congregation, a church and parish located in Rice Lake, Wisconsin. During this time period, Marcellus served as the Director of Development for St. Joseph’s, and was responsible for handling all financial and accounting matters for the church.

The indictment alleges that Marcellus misappropriated approximately $818,604 from St. Joseph’s bank accounts and used the funds for her personal benefit, including gambling. The indictment also alleges that Marcellus generated checks to herself from checking accounts maintained by S. Joseph’s, and concealed her conduct by changing the name of the payee for the checks to a legitimate vendor of the church in the financial records maintained by the church. In addition, the indictment alleges that Marcellus forged the signature of an authorized signatory for St. Joseph’s checking accounts on the fraudulently obtained checks.

If convicted, Marcellus faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison on each of the wire fraud charges, and five years on each of the tax charges. The charges against Marcellus are the result of an investigation by IRS Criminal Investigation. 

Charged with Wildlife Crimes

Markos Diderrich, 28, La Crosse, Wis., is charged with six counts of transporting wildlife in interstate commerce, knowing that the wildlife was taken in violation of state laws. The indictment alleges the following:

1. On June 1, 2016, Diderrich engaged in the sale of and interstate transportation of wildlife with a market value in excess of $350, that is Blanding’s turtles taken in violation of Minnesota law;

2. On January 26, 2016, he transported Eastern tiger salamanders taken in violation of Wisconsin law to California.

3. On January 26, 2016, he transported Eastern tiger salamanders taken in violation of Wisconsin to Pennsylvania;

4. On January 27, 2016, he transported blue-spotted salamanders taken in violation of Wisconsin law to New York;

5. On April 5, 2016, he transported Eastern tiger salamanders taken in violation of Wisconsin law to Virginia; and

6. On April 13, 2016, he transported blue-spotted salamanders taken in violation of Wisconsin law to Virginia.

If convicted, Diderrich faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison on count one, and one year in federal prison on each of the remaining counts. The counts against him are the results of an investigation by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Wisconsin and Minnesota Departments of Natural Resources.

Barron Man Charged 

Daniel Swessel, 33, Barron, Wis., is charged with two counts of possessing methamphetamine with the intent to distribute. The indictment alleges that he possessed methamphetamine on September 1 and October 11, 2017, and further alleges that on October 11, he possessed 50 grams or more of the drug.

If convicted, Swessel faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison on count one, and a mandatory minimum penalty of five years and a maximum of 40 years on count 2. The charges against him are the result of an investigation by the Barron County Sheriff’s office

Chippewa Falls Man Charged

Shane Johnson, 40, Chippewa Falls, Wis., is charged with possessing 50 grams of more of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute. The indictment alleges that he possessed the methamphetamine on November 23, 2017.

If convicted, Johnson faces a mandatory minimum penalty of five years and a maximum penalty of 40 years in federal prison. The charges against him is the result of an investigation by the Chippewa Falls Police Department, Chippewa County Sheriff’s Department, Wisconsin State Patrol, Village of Lake Hallie Police Department, West Central Drug Task Force, and U. S. Postal Service.

The above information was furnished by The United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Wisconsin with the notice that a charge is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.