Small-Town Treasurers Gone Wild

They’re not quite Enron, but a pair of similar cases show that embezzlement knows no boundaries.

A pair of Andy Fastow-wannabes who were treasurers for small villages are in big trouble for embezzling funds in separate cases.

In Wisconsin, Kim Simmelink, former clerk and treasurer of the Village of Oostburg, was charged with 10 felonies for allegedly embezzling more than $56,000 from the village, according to the Sheboygan Press.

Simmelink was accused of forging signatures using a computer scanner and falsifying records to cover the thefts over a six-month period in late 2005 and early 2006, the paper said. He was charged with four counts of forgery and six counts of theft and faces up to 26-and-a-half years in prison.

A village employee since 1987, Simmelink was paid about $36,000 a year, according to the newspaper.

Meanwhile, Cheryl Stevens, former treasurer of Lake Linden, Michigan, was sentenced to one year in jail for embezzling from the village, according to mininggazette.com. After an audit of the village’s water and sewer funds revealed an unexplained deficit of more than $75,000, Stevens was charged and pleaded no contest. It is still undetermined how much was taken; estimates range from $20,000 to $72,000.

“I just know for the past six months, I’ve been living in hell,” Stevens reportedly told Judge Garfield Hood in what was described as a quiet, tearful voice.

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