Stanley woman gets probation for embezzling from former employer

Jun. 10—EAU CLAIRE — A Stanley woman will spend five years on probation for embezzling more than $35,000 over a three-year period from an Eau Claire promotional products company.

Karen A. Phillips. 47, was sentenced Thursday in Eau Claire County Court on two felony counts of theft in a business setting.

Judge Sarah Harless ordered Phillips to pay $40,074 in restitution to her former employer. She must pay a minimum of $700 a month and $9,000 per year.

As conditions of probation, Phillips cannot have contact with the victims or have employment in a position where her primary responsibility is financial management. She must write a letter of apology to the victims and undergo any recommended programming or treatment.

According to the criminal complaint:

Eau Claire police met with the owner of Dean and Associates about the possible embezzlement of money from the business by Phillips, who was the office manager.

The embezzlement occurred from 2013-15.

Dean and Associates specializes in promotional products and clothing such as pens, calendars, mugs, t-shirts and hats.

The owner said Phillips began working for the company in 2011. He said he suspected somebody was embezzling money and noted that Phillips was authorized to use the company credit cards to pay vendors and expenses.

The owner said he then checked the business checking account at RCU and found unauthorized payments to Phillips.

Police interviewed Phillips and she admitted to writing unauthorized company checks to herself. Phillips said she had no idea when she started writing the unauthorized checks.

She said she wrote the first check to pay for her health insurance. She said she was on BadgerCare and what she was covered for was nowhere near what she was charged for, and ended up having to pay.

Phillips said she believed the second unauthorized check was used for groceries.

When asked how many times she wrote unauthorized checks, Phillips said, "I have no idea. I couldn't even guess."

Phillips said she has two children and received little to no child support.