A former Onalaska police department records specialist who admitted embezzling about $70,000 will spend three years on probation.

Kari Neumann, 48, of Holmen will avoid spending six months in jail if she reimburses the city the stolen funds within one year under the sentence imposed Monday by Monroe County Circuit Judge David Rice.

“I think the best thing that can come out of this is that the city of Onalaska get repaid its money,” he said. “I know the real punishment is the humiliation.”

Although Neumann estimated she took about $7,000 used to pay parking tickets and other citations for her living and medical expenses, an audit found $70,620 stolen from 2012 to 2016, according to police reports.

“It’s believed that it was going on for 10 years,” special prosecutor Tim Gaskell said. “To accumulate $70,000, this was an absolute ongoing crime spree.”

Neumann, who resigned from her position, pleaded guilty to felony theft in La Crosse County Circuit Court.

Gaskell asked she serve time on probation and six months in jail. The crime had a financial impact on the city of Onalaska and emotional impact on her longtime colleagues, he said.

“While collar crime affects many people,” he said.

Neumann can use her retirement savings to reimburse the stolen funds within one month, defense attorney Tim Guth said. She apologized to the city and her former colleagues during her short statement to the court.

“I never meant to hurt anybody,” Neumann said.

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Anne Jungen covers law enforcement and the criminal justice system in La Crosse County. She joined the Tribune reporting staff in December 2005. You can contact her directly at ajungen@lacrossetribune.com or 608-791-8224.

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