A former Onalaska police department records specialist was convicted of embezzling about $70,000 Friday after reaching an agreement with prosecutors.

Kari Neumann, who earlier resigned from her position, pleaded guilty to felony theft during a hearing in La Crosse County Circuit Court.

Although she 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.

Neumann, 48, of Holmen will be sentenced at a later date.

The case unfolded on April 8, when a woman reported that the Onalaska city clerk’s office notified her by letter that her son had an outstanding $191 balance after missing a payment for his traffic tickets.

The woman had a receipt showing she paid the fine in full with cash, although the city had no record of the payment and a receipt in the clerk’s office signed by Neumann showed it was scheduled for a payment plan, according to reports.

Another police records specialist discovered that receipt missing from the department’s receipt book, used when a cash register isn’t operating. Neumann later stated she couldn’t find the book.

At 2:20 p.m. April 8, Neumann credited the account $191 and left the office about 10 minutes later. That same day, the department discovered it was missing two paper receipt books.

Neumann turned over the first book at her house and tried to hide the second by throwing it behind a door in front of an investigator.

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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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