Former Mills Treasurer Pleads Guilty To Felony
The former clerk and treasurer for the Town of Mills pleaded guilty Friday to a felony count of using a public credit card for personal purposes.
Lisa Whetstone admitted the crime during a change of plea hearing before Natrona County District Court Judge Daniel Forgey.
In exchange for the plea, the District Attorney's Office agreed to dismiss a second felony count of grand larceny.
The plea agreement does not include any imprisonment, but Whetstone would be placed on probation for up to five years. The agreement also includes a fine of up to $5,000, plus fees and other costs.
The agreement also will include restitution, but the amount remains disputed, Whetstone's attorney Keith Nachbar said.
She will want to pay nothing, Nachbar said.
But the state will argue that restitution should be for the full amount, $64,383.51, she stole from the town from May 1, 2014 to Oct. 1, 2015, Assistant District Attorney Trevor Schenk said.
During the plea, Whetstone said she was a town employee, had a town credit card, used it to make personal purchases, did not immediately reimburse the town, knew she was supposed to do so but did not.
She pleaded not guilty in June.
The law itself states she failed or refused, "to account for deliver and pay over property received by virtue of the office when legally required by the proper person or authority."
Judge Forgey is not bound by the terms of the plea agreement. Whetstone will be sentenced at date to be set later.
The case started in January 2015, when the Wyoming Department of Audit began a performance audit of Mills’ books from July 2013 to June 2014, according to an affidavit filed by a Wyoming Department of Criminal Investigation agent.
Auditors could not find cash received by the town that was to be deposited into its bank account, and the increasing losses totaling $64,383.51 resulted in the DCI investigation.
Auditors also found irregularities in the use of town-issued credit cards, including one for Whetstone who used it for personal expenses, according to court documents.
During the investigation, “Thereafter, both (Mayor Marrolyce) Wilson and Whetstone informed employees of the town, that if they cooperated with law enforcement they were threatened to be disciplined and put on probation,” according to the DCI affidavit.
Whetstone was arrested in May 2016 and left the town’s employ soon after that.