Waukesha DNR employee charged in $12,500 theft

Published on: 3/11/2014

A 42-year-old Wauwatosa woman has been charged with stealing more than $12,500 and dozens of recreational passes from the Waukesha office of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Crystal L. Steiner was charged Thursday, Feb. 27, in Waukesha County Circuit Court with felony business theft. If convicted, she could face up to 10 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.

According to the criminal complaint, a detective with the Wisconsin State Capitol Police met with officials from the DNR on Sept. 7, 2012, to discuss an internal investigation into missing funds.

Susan Rice, a section chief for the department, told the detective that Steiner was suspected of stealing money as well as trail passes, park stickers and park passes, according to the complaint.

Steiner had been hired to work as a senior customer service representative at the DNR's satellite center, 141 W. Barstow St., Waukesha, the complaint states. She handled sales and was responsible for making daily bank deposits and maintaining financial records for the office.

She had been questioned about the missing money when it was discovered in August 2012. She told supervisors she would look into it, but then quit without notice, according to the complaint.

An audit performed by the department discovered that the office's financial records were in 'total disarray,' the complaint states. Credit card receipts were missing, and bank deposits were made irregularly.An inventory audit showed that 77 trail passes, 30 senior passes and 33 resident park passes were missing, altogether valued at $2,665.

A detective spoke with Steiner on May 1, 2013. She told police that she would sign bank slips and allow other employees to make deposits, though other employees refuted this, according to the complaint.

She refused to answer questions about missing cash and requested an attorney, the complaint states.

Altogether, $12,705 in cash was found to have gone missing between March 2012 and August 2012.

Steiner is expected to make an initial appearance in court on Monday, March 10.