Bookkeeper will plead guilty to embezzling $350,000 from Dells-Delton EMS, Delton Fire Department
MADISON — A former bookkeeper of the Delton Fire Department Commission and the Dells-Delton Emergency Medical Services Commission has agreed to plead guilty to embezzling more than $350,000 from the commissions’ checking accounts, according to documents filed in federal court.
Stephanie Czuprynko, 54, of Wisconsin Dells, had been the secretary/bookkeeper for each of the commissions from August 2015 until December 2018, said Daniel Hardman, director of Public Safety for the village of Lake Delton.
For much of her employment, Czuprynko made the bank deposits into the commissions’ checking accounts and wrote checks for their expenses. She was the only person directly involved in the banking transactions and the commission members apparently did not independently verify where all the funds went.
“When I became director of Public Safety, I didn’t have access to the bank accounts. I do now because of this,” Hardman said Monday.
The Fire Department Commission is governed by the village and town of Delton and serves those municipalities plus the town of Dellona and the Ho-Chunk Casino. The Dells-Delton EMS Commission is goverened by the city of Wisconsin Dells, the village of Lake Delton and the town of Delton, and serves those entities and the town of Dellona and the casino.
Lake Delton Village President John Webb acknowledged the commissions’ record-keeping system was flawed but has since been corrected.
“There’s already procedural changes made. A number of people now are looking at bank statements and checks,” he said.
The information charging Czuprynko with embezzlement states it occurred during the 2017 calendar year, but Hardman said that there were unauthorized withdrawals from the accounts in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
According to the plea agreement Czuprynko signed April 4, the loss amount that will be used for sentencing is $358,234.
She is scheduled to plead guilty before District Judge William Conley on May 21. Sentencing is typically scheduled about 10 weeks later.
The statutory maximum penalties for Czuyprynko’s offense are 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years’ supervised release.
Instead, District Judge William Conley will consult the advisory sentencing guidelines, which have far less severe penalties. A guideline prison range is derived from the amount of loss and other factors, including abuse of a position of trust and if a defendant has any prior qualifying convictions.
In exchange for her guilty plea, the government will recommend a reduced sentence under the guidelines.
Czuprynko has agreed to make restitution for all losses related to her offense by liquidating all non-exempt assets, including two properties she owns on Hillside Drive in Wisconsin Dells.
The parties will agree to an exact amount of restitution prior to sentencing or Conley will set the amount, according to the plea agreement.
Efforts to contact Czuprynko’s attorney, Mark Eisenberg of Madison, were unsuccessful Monday. A call to Wisconsin Dells Mayor Ed Wojnicz about the impact of Czuyprynko’s theft may have had on the operations of the commissions was not returned by deadline.
In trying to compare the amount of loss from Czuprynko’s embezzlement to the commissions’ annual budgets, Hardman said he did not have those documents readily available.