Embezzling scheme revealed
Stephanie Czuprynko is a former bookkeeper and secretary from Wisconsin Dells who recently pled guilty to stealing nearly $350,000 (£277,000) from her employer to spend on her gambling habit. Czuprynko reportedly took the money from two local commissions, the Lake Delton Fire Department and Dells-Delton Emergency Medical Services.
In November 2018, Czuprynko’s desk was searched, revealing spreadsheets that contained information on the theft. Information was also recovered about the Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells.
Czuprynko had written checks on both commissions’ accounts to be used for her gambling habit. She had purchased signature stamps and used them to authorize the checks. The stamps were located in the desk during the search. According to the accused, she kept the spreadsheets with the theft details so she could eventually repay the funds.
A total of $348,233 (£275,209) was taken from the commissions in 2017. Czuprynko admitted to the judge during her recent trial that the funds were taken to help fund her gambling addiction. The investigation into the theft was started by the local police department and then handed over to the FBI. The case when then sent to the United States Attorney’s Office.
For most of her employment, Czuprynko was in charge of making bank deposits into the checking accounts of the commissions. She also wrote checks for their expenses and was the only individual with direct access to the banking transactions.
Members of the commission were not verifying where the funds were going at the time. The record-keeping system was flawed, according to John Webb, the Lake Delton Village President. The issues have now been corrected.
Mr. Webb said: “There’s already procedural changes made. A number of people now are looking at bank statements and checks.”
The embezzlement was filed as a federal case because the two commissions received federal funds totaling almost $685,000 (£541,000) in 2017, the year the theft took place. 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 agreed to sell property that she owns in Wisconsin Dells. Czuprynko is currently free until her sentencing hearing takes place in August.
Czuprynko could face up to ten years in prison along with a $250,000 (£198,000) fine, supervised release for three years, and restitution.